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Small Business Committee Senators Push for Federal R&D Programs

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Location: Washington, DC

Following the Senate passage of the National Defense Authorization bill, Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Mary L. Landrieu, D-La. and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, along with Committee Members, John Kerry, D-Mass., Scott Brown, R-Mass., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., made the following remarks in regard to Amendment #1115, reauthorizing the Small Business Research Innovation (SBIR) and Science Technology Transfer (STTR) programs for another eight years:
"After many years of negotiations and short-term extensions, I am proud that the Senate came together to pass legislation to boost small businesses and increase job growth. Our next challenge is to work with House members to preserve this long-term extension of SBIR in conference committee so the president can sign it into law. The SBIR program is of critical importance to Massachusetts and the country as we try to create an environment where small businesses can grow, take risks, and create jobs," said Senator Brown, a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business.

"We've won the battle, but we have more work to do to win the war," Sen. Landrieu said. "The fight is not over; we must make sure our colleagues in the House do not strip this crucial legislation as with years past.

"You may think this bill will easily pass the House with bipartisan approval given the overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate and from groups such as the National Small Business Association, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the U.S Chamber of Commerce and BIO. The Senate version has the most support and we hope the House will join us in getting a long-term SBIR/STTR reauthorization across the finish line. However, I encourage everyone to call your member of the House and urge them to speak to their colleagues who will be involved in final negotiations before the National Defense bill is sent to the President. We must stress the importance of this legislation; we must make sure they understand the necessity of these programs to keep our nation on the forefront of defense technology and scientific innovation," Sen. Landrieu concluded.

"The SBIR and STTR programs have been front and center in improving our nation's capacity to innovate, and SBIR-backed firms have been responsible for roughly 25 percent of the nation's most crucial innovations over the past decade, including countless technologies that make our nation's military more efficient, effective, and safer," said Senator Snowe. "Long-term reauthorization of these programs will provide certainty and stability so that our nation's small businesses have undisturbed access to this critical seed funding. I thank my colleagues for including this critical amendment on the National Defense Authorization Act, and hope that the House and Senate can quickly achieve a compromise. We simply cannot squander this opportunity."

"This is a vote of confidence for small businesses," said Senator Kerry. "These programs have helped turn ideas into reality and everyone in America benefits from the resulting advances in medicine, cleaner energy sources and stronger economy. But our entrepreneurs can't do it without resources, that's why it makes sense to reauthorize these programs and keep America on the cutting edge of innovation."

"Getting this extension included in the defense authorization bill was an important step forward in securing a long-term extension for the Small Business Innovation Research program," Shaheen said. "In order to continue to create jobs in America and ensure our economy remains competitive in the global marketplace, we must focus on entrepreneurship and innovation--which is exactly what this program supports. Long-term authorization of this program will provide participating agencies and companies the stability and predictability they need to take full advantage of this successful program."

"SBIR provides tremendous opportunities to America's small businesses, generating increased growth and supporting their innovative contributions to our national security," said Senator Ayotte. "I'm pleased that the Senate has approved reauthorization of this important program."

The SBIR and STTR programs are the largest federal research and development programs for small businesses. The programs allow small businesses to compete for a portion of federal research dollars in order to help the agencies meet their many missions from areas of health and environment to national defense and agriculture, and move the ideas from lab to market, whether for the government or commercial purposes.

The SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Amendment #1115 on the National Defense Authorization bill includes the following:

* Reauthorizes the programs for eight years;

* Increases the SBIR program allocation by one percent, from 2.5 to 3.5 percent, over 10 years, and increases the STTR program allocation from .3 percent to .6 percent over six years;

* Makes firms majority owned and controlled by multiple venture capital firms eligible for up to 25 percent of the SBIR funds at National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and Department of Energy and up to 15 percent of the funds at the other eight agencies. The authority is in effect for five years, as modified by Sen. McCain;

* Allows 3 percent of the SBIR allocation to go to administrative, oversight and processing costs if there is an allocation increase; and

* Increases the award guidelines for SBIR and STTR awards from $100,000 to $150,000 for Phase I and from $750,000 to $1 million for Phase II, allowing for one sequential Phase II.


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