Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Reauthorization Bill
THIS PETITION WILL BE DISTRIBUTED TO THE US SENATE COMMITTEE ON SMALL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS WELL AS ANY US SENATOR THAT PLACES A “HOLD” ON THE BILL. IF THIS PETITION NEEDS TO BE DISTRIBUTED TO OTHER PEOPLE, PLEASE SEND CONTACT INFORMATION TO firstname.lastname@example.org. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is currently threatened by legislative efforts in the United States Senate. A draft Senate Bill that reauthorizes the SBIR program and supports the vitality of the program has been placed “on hold” which prevents a vote by the entire Senate. These efforts to block a vote by the entire Senate threaten to undermine and potentially eliminate the majority of research and development (R&D) opportunities for small businesses in the United States. It is critically important that small business owners and those impacted by small businesses act now to ensure that the SBIR program is preserved. The federal SBIR program is a highly-successful set-aside program (2.5% of an agency's extramural budget) for domestic small business concerns to engage in Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. The SBIR program was established under the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982 (P.L. 97-219), reauthorized until September 30, 2000 by the Small Business Research and Development Enhancement Act (P.L. 102-564), and reauthorized again until September 30, 2008 by the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-554). A continuing resolution was passed earlier this year to provide an extension. As a result of the continuing resolution, the current Reauthorization Act will not expire until March 2009. The U.S. SBA Office of Technology administers the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. Through these two competitive programs, SBA ensures that the nation's small, high-tech, innovative businesses are a significant part of the federal government's research and development efforts. Eleven federal departments participate in the SBIR program; five departments participate in the STTR program awarding approximately $2 billion a year to small high-tech businesses. The U.S National Science Foundation administers the SBIR.GOV site on behalf of the federal government. According to a study in An Assessment of the SBIR Program (2008), the SBIR program has made significant progress in achieving its Congressional objectives of: Stimulating Technical Innovation, Using Small Businesses to meet Federal Research and Development Needs, Fostering and Encouraging Participation by Minority and Disadvantaged Persons in Technological Innovation, and Increasing private Sector Commercialization of Innovation Derived from Federal Research and Development. The SBIR program is the lifeblood for many start-up and growing small businesses. It offers many research solutions that would be impossible to fund if it were left up to large companies because of their salary rates. In most cases the work requirement for the SBIR awards demands high tech skills and white collar jobs. The termination of this program would have a huge effect on our job market and on the Oklahoma economy. The Reauthorization Act passed the US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in July 2008 by a unanimous vote; however, a single U.S. Senator has placed a “hold” on the bill with issues listed below. This “hold” has effectively stopped the bill from presentation to the Senate for a vote. This petition is an effort to convince the Senator to release the bill so that it can be voted on by the full Senate. Here are the issues that have been responsible for the “reading hold.” 1. Five-Year Authorization and Sunset: The SBIR-STTR program shall expire in 2013 after five years. 2. Cut Rural and State Outreach Program (Sec. 201) 3. FFATA Compliance: Restrict the SBA, or an agency implementing an SBIR program, from implementing any of the provisions of this act until the Director of OMB certifies in writing to Congress that the SBA is compliant with the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. FFATA requires that detailed information on all federal grants and contracts appear on http://www.USASpending.gov. 4. Agency Mission: Require stronger language in Sec. 9 of the Small Business Act clarifying that awards may only be made if a clear justification is presented in writing, and posted to the website, as to why such an award advances the mission of the agency. 5. Earmark Prohibition: Notwithstanding any other provision of law, none of the funds set aside for use in the SBIR or STTR program may be earmarked or used for congressional directed spending. 6. Limitation on Phase III Funding: No company that has received Phase I and II SBIR or STTR funding may obtain Phase III funding through an earmark. As you can see, the Sunset issue alone will terminate the program. Additionally, the earmark issues will terminate the Phase III efforts for a vast majority of the awarded companies and prevent the awarding agency from procuring the product through government funding. Please help us convince the senator of the necessity to release the “hold” on the bill and allow it to be presented to the Senate for a vote. The current Reauthorization Act expires in March 2009. Any additional delays will cast doubt on the SBIR program and could impact immediate opportunities for small businesses. The time to act is now. If you have questions, please email email@example.com.