Is the federal government prepared to hand Jeff Bezos, the third-richest man in the world, millions of our taxpayer dollars again?
Unfortunately, it sure seems that way.
Bezos knows when it comes to taxpayer subsidies, the sky is the limit, and with the help of President Joe Biden’s Space Force, his rocket company Blue Origin appears ready to blast off.
Biden’s Space Force recently changed the longstanding selection criteria the government has used to decide who is (and isn’t) qualified to conduct national security launches. And it appears to have done so to ensure more of our hard-earned dollars orbit straight into the $116 billion-dollar man’s pockets.
Before the Biden administration changed the rules, federal law mandated the government only select companies with the proven ability to launch things into space by meeting certain “reference orbits.” But now, Biden’s Space Force has created a new section in the program that will allow Bezos — who has out-of-this-world space dreams but no completed, functioning rocket to transition them into reality — to win government contracts anyway.
Ars Technica reported that the Biden administration only made this rule change for “risk tolerant” missions.” So, “if the rocket blows up and the satellite is lost, it will not have a hugely adverse effect on the military’s operations.” But that still raises the question: why is the government so willing to blow up taxpayer money this carelessly when it already has so many proven contractors available?
For Jeff Bezos — who is basically a patron saint of the Democratic Party these days — it might be because his New Glenn Rocket is not ready for prime time yet. In fact, it’s not even fully developed!
Florida Today reported that Bezos’ New Glenn Rocket was “originally slated to fly in 2020 and then delayed to late 2021. Early last year, Blue said it was pushing to the end of 2022.”
It’s now March 2023, and we’re still waiting for Bezos to make good on his word. Yet, the Biden administration still felt compelled to change the rules to let his currently incomplete and untested rocket play ball.
If there is a more egregiously offensive example of corporate welfare out there today, I haven’t seen it.
There’s little doubt that this change was made in Bezos’ favor. After all, this Bezos space bailout has been a long time coming.
When Blue Origin lost a multi-billion NASA contract bid in this exact same program two years ago (whose “Total Evaluated Price was significantly higher,” according to a government report, amid other safety/testing concerns), Bezos’ allies in the U.S. Senate immediately went to work. They sought to pass an amendment that would’ve bullied NASA into handing his company $10 billion anyway.
To his credit, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) blasted the Bezos bailout. “It does not make a lot of sense to me that we would provide billions of dollars to a company owned by the wealthiest guy in America,” he said. He was joined by freshman Senator, conservative Josh Hawley (R-MO), and fellow conservative stalwart Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). “Why is the Senate preparing to give Amazon’s Jeff Bezos a $10 billion bailout?,” Hawley asked.
While the Bezos bailout cleared a congressional committee, it didn’t pass the smell test of the full Congress. The Amazon founder did what most billionaires with hundreds of lawyers at his disposal would do – he sued. Nevertheless, federal Judge Richard Hertling predictably sided with NASA, dismissing Bezos’ seemingly dollar sign-fueled temper tantrum.
Jetting back into the present, Bezos’ knight and shining armor, the Biden Space Force, has interceded to save the day.
Are congressional Republicans going to sit idly by as this money-grows-on-trees administration continues to dole out millions of taxpayer dollars to its favorite billionaires? Or will they stand up and use their oversight powers to strike at this billionaire’s asteroid and say enough is enough?
Time will tell, but if they’re not willing to pull out every stop to rein in one of the leading villains of their own party, what are they willing to do?
The GOP grassroots is watching.
Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.