The final session of the 114th Congress will begin next week, and with it the last opportunity to get a SBIR/STTR reauthorization passed in 2016. SBTC’s top priority is to get reauthorization done this year, and we are working every day with staff on the Hill get that done. While there is unlikely to be any increase in allocation, there is still a very real possibility that a reauthorization, or at least a 1 or 2 year continuing resolution, could be included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), or another bill this year.
There aren’t a lot specific details we can share publicly, but we can tell you that the Senate and House Small Business Committees are actively working together to get reauthorization included in the NDAA, which is the most important piece of legislation that will be considered during the lame duck session. Both the House and Senate have passed their own versions of the NDAA, and will go to joint conference committee to resolve the difference between the two. It is in this conference committee that we are hopeful language to reauthorize the NDAA is inserted. There is already placeholder language in the Senate NDAA that could be used to include a full reauthorization. As soon as the conference report for the NDAA is made public, we will let you know whether or not SBIR/STTR reauthorization is included.
As far as what you can do to help, we encourage all our members in their communications to their members of Congress to emphasize the urgency of getting the reauthorization done THIS YEAR, do not wait until next year when there is a new Congress and new Administration. Help them to understand the effect uncertainty of when these programs will be reauthorized has on a small business trying to set its budgets and plan for the future. Above all, ask them to not stand in the way and put a hold or protest any SBIR/STTR reauthorization that gets attached to the NDAA or any other bill. SBTC is always reiterating this message during our meetings on the Hill, but it carries so much more weight coming from a small business in a member’s state/district.
Regardless of whether or not the SBIR/STTR program is reauthorized this year, we will begin 2017 with a campaign to educate the new Congress and Administration about the importance of these programs. SBIR/STTR is the most successful innovation program in government, and thanks to the recent economic studies conducted by the Air Force and Navy, we now have data that supports what we already knew. For every $1 invested by the taxpayer, SBIR/STTR returns approximately $3 in sales of new products, $2 in tax revenue for, and $12 in total economic output. We are confident that the new President and members of Congress will recognize the value of these programs, and continue to strengthen and protect them past 2017 and into the future.
November 2, 2016
The 2016 elections are approaching, and after it, the lame duck session in December, the final session of the 114th US Congress. There has been no substantive movement on SBIR/STTR reauthorization since our last update, although we are still hopeful that the language could be attached to the 2017 NDAA, which is expected to pass during the lame duck session. Staff-level discussions between the House and Senate Small Business, Armed Services, and Science Committees have been ongoing, but there are certain disagreements that will likely have to be decided at the member level. The two most contentious items for SBIR/STTR reauthorization are the level of allocation increase, and the length of reauthorization.
Linked below is the latest language for SBIR/STTR reauthorization (S.2812), written by the Senate Small Business Committee over the summer. This bill represents a compromise between the Senate SBC and certain stakeholders who were uncomfortable with some of the more aggressive positions in the earlier bill that was voted out of committee in May, particularly regarding the allocation increase. Among the changes in the compromise, this bill:
- Delays all allocation increases until 2022 when the Budget Control Act caps expire. This addresses a common argument about the impact of increasing the allocation while Agency R&D budgets are constrained by BCA-imposed budget limitations.
- Reduces the SBIR allocation increase by 54% from the Committee reported level, a substantial compromise. Over at least ten years, the SBIR allocation would increase from 3.2% to 4.5% instead of 6%.
- Limits the allocation increases for NIH and NSF by tying virtually all of the increases to years in which the relevant agency’s extramural R&D appropriations increase by more than 3%.
- Eliminates the change to DoD’s funding source for SBIR and STTR, so that it remains only the extramural R&D dollars, not an adjusted percent out of the extra- and intra-mural dollars as DoD originally requested and GAO supported.
SBTC believes the Senate Small Business Committee has done more than enough to address the concerns and accommodate those who were uncomfortable with the earlier bill, and while SBTC isn’t completely happy with rolling back of the allocation increase, we believe this current iteration represents a compromise acceptable to both sides. We will continue to meet with and urge Congress to add this language as a amendment to the 2017 NDAA before it is passed, or barring that, pass it as a freestanding bill. We also ask you to continue to urge your members of Congress in your interactions and communications with them to support passage S. 2812 during the lame duck session in December.
Urge Congress to Move on SBIR/STTR Reauthorization
August 2, 2016
Please contact your members of Congress and ask them to move on SBIR/STTR Reauthorization!
Congress is currently in its annual recess, and won’t return until September 5. When it does reconvene in Washington, there will only be a few more weeks on the legislative calendar to conduct business until the 114th Congress is adjourned and a new Congress is sworn in the next year. It is imperative that, during this recess, we get in touch with as many member of Congress as possible to urge them to support reauthorizing SBIR/STTR this year, either as a stand-alone bill or as part of the fy2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Please use the handout linked below in your discussions with your members of Congress. It outlines why SBIR/STTR needs to be reauthorized now rather than next year, and provides 5 critical areas where the SBIR program should be improved. Below is also a document illustrating the difficult climate that innovative small businesses face in receiving funding to develop their technologies, thereby making SBIR/STTR program that much more essential:
Time is running out to get legislation passed in this session. If Congress adjourns before SBIR/STTR is reauthorized, the next Congress will have to start the reauthorization process over from scratch. Small businesses needs action now so that we are not cut out from funding due to large business lobbying.
SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Language not Included in Senate NDAA
June 16, 2016
There has been a lot of action behind the scenes in the Senate on SBIR/STTR reauthorization, and unfortunately not all of it has been good news. A few weeks ago SBTC came to a compromise agreement with University groups over the SBIR/STTR allocation increase, which has been the biggest sticking point in reauthorization. Unfortunately this compromise did not satisfy everyone in the Senate, and there were objections that forced delays, and renegotiations that further watered down the allocation increase.
Ultimately, the Senate Small Business Committee were successful in getting reauthorization legislation language in a “manager’s amendment”, which is an omnibus amendment including a number of individual amendments that is added to a free-standing bill. Unfortunately, for political reasons that have nothing to do with SBIR, the manager’s amendment was dropped from the NDAA, meaning that SBIR legislation with an allocation increase was not included in the Senate FY17 NDAA that was passed earlier this week. There is, however, a “placeholder” provision in the NDAA that was added earlier that will simply make SBIR permanent without any other provisions, but it is too soon to tell if that provision will remain after the Senate and House versions are reconciled.
The Senate Small Business Committee is still working to get SBIR/STTR reauthorization passed this year, either as a stand-alone bill or attached to another piece of legislation. SBIR/STTR reauthorization isn’t dead yet, but it is starting to look more likely it may have to be passed next year.
In the House, the Science Committee this morning held their first hearing on SBIR/STTR reauthorization. The four witnesses, representing NSF, NIH, DOE, and Georgia Tech, all spoke out against increasing SBIR’s Allocation. The House Small Business Committee passed their SBIR reauthorization bill earlier this year, but couldn’t attach it to the House NDAA bill over the Science Committee’s objection. Below is the link to the Science Committee Hearing page, and to the testimony of the witnesses:
Updated SBTC White Paper on SBIR/STTR Reauthorization
June 9, 2016
The Senate is currently working hard to try to attach SBIR/STTR legislation to the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, and there may be a resolution in the very near term. SBTC in the meantime has updated our white paper on SBIR/STTR Reauthorization, and we are distributing this to staffers and Senators during our meetings on the Hill. We encourage everyone who wants to help to use this paper as a primer on the issues, and to please ask your Senators to cosponsor the SBIR/STTR Reautorization legislation, S. 2812, and support its inclusion in the FY 2017 NDAA.
May 16, 2016
SBIR needs your support! Please add your signature to the letter linked below urging prompt action by the Senate to get SBIR reauthorization legislation passed.
SBIR Reauthorization legislation has passed through the Senate Small Business Committee, and now we need it to be added to the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to get it passed this year. Unless Congress takes action to reauthorize SBIR this year, this program will be in jeopardy, as it loses long term focus, and the innovating small businesses and their employees will face an uncertain future.
To sign on to this letter, please send an email with the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org:
Company’s City, State
SBIR Reauthorization Passes through the Senate Small Business Committee
May 12, 2016
The Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee yesterday voted to approve its SBIR/STTR Reathorization bill (S 2812) with enthusiastic bi-partisan support. Also included were a number of amendments focused on increasing outreach and inclusion of women and minority owned businesses, and an amendment to increase business assistance funding for commercialization of Phase II technologies. Below is a link to the press release from the Senate Small Business Committee on this bill’s passage:
Additionally, Senators Shaheen and Vitter were able to include a provision in the Senate FY17 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would make SBIR/STTR permanent. This is a procedural move designed to ensure that SBIR does have a place in the NDAA before its considered and marked up by the Senate Armed Services Committee. The next step will likely be to get the full SBIR/STTR reauthorization language included in the FY17 NDAA as an amendment, where it would then go to the floor of the Senate for a vote.
So far things are moving well in the Senate, but questions remain in the House on whether or not the SBIR/STTR reauthorization language will move forward in time to be added to their version of the FY17 NDAA before the House and Senate versions are reconciled. We will keep you up to date on any major movements or concerns in the future.
SBTC White Paper on SBIR Reauthorization and Letters of Support for Senate Bills
April 27, 2016
We were hopeful that the Senate would pass its SBIR/STTR Reathorization Bill (S 2812) out of committee this week. Unfortunately, it was postponed due to procedural issues that have nothing to do with SBIR. The Senate staff is optimistic the bill will be added back to the committee schedule soon and get a markup and pass through the committee in time to be added to this year’s NDAA. We will update you if and when that happens.
In the meantime, we have been meeting with the individual offices for Senate members on the Senate Small Business Committee to offer our endorsement of the Senate bill and urge them to support it. Below are some of the documents we have drafted for this effort. The first is a brief 2-page white paper on SBIR reauthorization laying out our justification for the reauthorization bill, the other two are letters of support for the SBIR reauthorization and RIF Enhancement Acts, with around 80 companies signed on to each.
- 2016 SBTC SBIR Reauthorization White Paper
- SBTC Letter of Support for S 2792, the “RIF Enhancement Act of 2016”
- SBTC Letter of Support for S 2812, the “SBIR/STTR Reauthorization and Improvement Act of 2016”
Senate Small Business Committee Releases SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Bill & RIF Enhancement Bill
April 13, 2016
The Senate Small Business Committee officially released its SBIR/STTR Reauthorization bill (S 2812), as well as its complementary bill, the RIF Enhancement Act (S 2792) on April 13. Below are the official released version of the two bills and their section-by-section summaries:
S 2812 “SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2016” text
S 2812 “SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2016” summary
S 2792 “Rapid Innovation Fund Enhancement Act of 2016” text
S 2792 “Rapid Innovation Fund Enhancement Act of 2016” summary
Among the major provisions in the Senate SBIR/STTR reauth bill are:
- SBIR/STTR made permanent
- SBIR set-aside for civ agencies increases to 6% over 10 years
- DOD set-aside calculated for total, not extramural R&D, doubles over 10 years
- STTR set-aside increased from 0.45% to 1% over 6 years
- Strengthens goaling reqs from last reauth to force agencies to implement them
House Committee on Small Business passes SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Bill
March 23, 2016
The House Committee on Small Business released their version of the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Bill, listed as HR 4783, in late March. You can read the full text of the bill here:
The bill, as drafted, is very short and simple, with only 7 sections. Among the provisions in the bill:
- Reauthorizes SBIR for 5 years, until 2022
- Increases set-aside gradually from 3% currently to 4.5% in 2022
- STTR increased from 0.45% to 0.6%
- Strengthens DOD insertion incentives by requiring Sec of Defense to set goals for transition of Phase III technology into subcontracting plans
HR 4783 was marked up in committee on March 23, and a handful of amendments were added. Below is the link to the House Small Business Committee website with more information on the Markup, as well as a list of amendments that were attached: