Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has filed a procedural (cloture) motion to begin debate on the SBIR and STTR Reauthorization Act (S. 493). Specifically, cloture was filed on the motion to proceed to the bill.
This legislation “reauthorizes the Federal government’s two largest research and development programs, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technical Transfer (STTR) programs, for eight years,” according to a press release from the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
The committee approved the measure earlier this week by a vote of 18-1.
“After years of negotiations, America’s innovators are one step closer to seeing this successful program reauthorized for an extended period of time,” said Senator Landrieu. “I hope this legislation comes to the floor and garners the same bipartisan support as it did in our Committee. Without the research and innovation that comes from these programs, the men and women who serve in the military would be less safe, communicating in times of disaster would be more difficult, and American medical exploration would be behind the curve. The SBIR and STTR programs provide taxpayers an enormous return on their investment, and it is important for us to provide the entrepreneurs of this country with a sense of certainty that has been lacking in this program for a number of years.”
“It is incumbent upon this Congress and this Administration to support our nation’s nearly 30 million small businesses in their efforts to create jobs and out-innovate our competitors,” said Senator Snowe. “The SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 makes critical improvements to these job creating initiatives, which foster an environment of innovative entrepreneurship for the nation’s small firms most likely to create jobs and commercialize their products. After ten short term extensions, it is critical that we provide these initiatives with some modicum of certainty, and I look forward to passing this bill in the full Senate.”
Some background on these programs per a separate release:
Congress established the SBIR program in 1982, and the STTR program in 1992, to, among other things, help meet the government’s research and development needs through small businesses. The last comprehensive reauthorization of the SBIR program occurred in 2000, when Congress reauthorized the program for eight years, and STTR was last reauthorized in 2001, also for eight years. The programs have been subject to numerous temporary extensions since their expirations.
A vote on the cloture motion will take place on Monday of next week.