Quick Takes on the News: Kamala Harris Has Her Book Deal

Sen. Kamala Harris D-Calif., walks to the senate floor, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, at Capitol Hill in Washington.
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
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Alex Clearfield and Harrison Cramer
May 16, 2018, 10:24 a.m.

Kamala Harris putting pen to paper again

Senators were required to submit their 2017 financial disclosures on Tuesday, and although much of it comprises dry listings of mutual funds and bank accounts, Kamala Harris made some 2020-related literary news.

She was reported in March to be shopping a book, tentatively titled Speaking Truth: Hard Facts and Hope for America’s Future. Her disclosure shows she reached an agreement with Penguin Press regarding royalties and a book advance, making a common step towards a presidential run official. The filing does not list the value of the deal.

Harris spokeswoman Lily Adams said, “Senator Harris has been encouraged to write a second book and is excited about the project.”

A number of senators are busy with royalty agreements. Orrin Hatch lists 23 outside agreements with companies, the large majority of which are royalty agreements for songs or books he’s written, and Bernie Sanders reported earning $880,000 in book royalties.

Other notable entries include Mitch McConnell, who lists a crystal trophy worth $650, awarded to him by the Woodrow Wilson Center; and Michael Bennet, who sold between $1 million and $2 million in stock in the Regal Entertainment movie theater chain. Mike Crapo, who may have the smallest real estate asset by square footage, lists $3,560 in rental income from a Washington, D.C. parking space.
—Alex Clearfield

The fate of the International Space Station is up in the air, so to speak. In February, NASA surprised congressional overseers with plans to end federal support for the floating laboratory in 2025. In a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz grilled NASA associate administrator William Gerstenmaier on where that year came from. “It came from the [Trump] administration,” Gerstenmaier admitted.

The plan to deorbit the station precedes NASA’s plans to ramp up deep space exploration and build a lunar platform as part of a “leapfrog” approach to Mars. Although the ISS could remain operational through “at least 2028,” Gerstenmaier said, it costs roughly $3-4 billion annually to operate. The Office of Management and Budget has pushed for the private sector to shoulder the burden of low-orbit missions instead.

It’s unclear that venture capitalists would be interested in taking on that project given the financial risk involved. “You’re talking about commercial companies taking a large bite of the pie,” said Sen. Bill Nelson, a former astronaut himself. “It’s possible they might choke on it.”
—Harrison Cramer

The ISS crew, pictured in February 2018. NASA

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