Permanent authorization clears key hurdle for SBIR/STTR programs
Provision would dedicate R&D funding across all federal agencies
The Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, which dedicate a percentage of federal research and development funding to allow small- and medium-sized businesses to work with federal agencies, could finally be made permanent, should new legislation pass.
A bill introduced in April by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, and U.S. Senator David Vitter, R-La., received markup and approval from the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship yesterday evening. The bill would make the SBIR and STTR programs permanent across all agencies.
Vitter is chair and Shaheen is the lead Democrat on the Senate panel
On Tuesday, a separate provision, focused only on making the programs permanent for the Department of Defense, was included in the Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which was approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee and Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee.
The expectation from Senator Shaheen’s office is that the provision in the NDAA will be amended to reflect the separate bill when both hit the Senate floor, making the SBIR and STTR programs permanent for all agencies.
The NDAA was the last vehicle used as a short-term, six-year extension for the SBIR and STTR, which are set to expire on Sept. 30, 2017. The Department of Defense accounts for nearly half of SBIR and STTR funding, according to a press release from Sen. Shaheen’s office. The Air Force alone reports $14.7 billion in sales of new technologies between 2000 and 2013 from the nearly $4 billion invested through SBIR and STTR programs.
The NDAA has been passed consecutively for 54 years, according to Military Times.
“Making SBIR and STTR permanent for the Department of Defense is good news for our small businesses in New Hampshire, our economy and our national security,” said Shaheen. “The SBIR and STTR programs have a proven record of success, and as the lead Democrat on the Senate Small Business Committee, I’ll continue to advocate for their permanency across all agencies.”
Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, chair of the Senate Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee, also expressed her support for the programs.
“I am also pleased that the subcommittee included language to reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research and the Small Business Technology Transfer programs for small defense businesses, which is so important to the many New Hampshire defense companies that play a critical role equipping our troops.”
Ayotte is a co-sponsor of Shaheen and Vitter's bill.