House Passes Bill Supporting Small Business Innovation

The House on Wednesday approved legislation reauthorizing programs that provide federal support for new technologies emerging from private-sector small businesses.

H.R. 5819 reauthorizes through 2010 the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Research programs. The bill was passed 368-43.

"Innovation is crucial for maintaining America's competitive lead in this global economy," said Science Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.). "SBIR and STTR are good economic stimulus programs that support research and innovation among our country's leading job creators - small businesses."

The programs make up the largest source of federal support for private-sector technological innovation, providing more than $2.3 billion annually to small, high-tech entrepreneurial companies that are creating revolutionary new technologies.

The legislation updates the programs, including adding the requirement that agencies with SBIR or STTR budgets greater than $50 million create an advisory board to review the program quarterly and recommend improvements.

Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio, who is the ranking Republican on the House Small Business Committee, released a statement saying he's committed to "ensuring that the program remains focused on small businesses and not on small businesses owned by large companies."

Some small businesses have complained that the program was merely aiding large corporations that posed as small firms rather than the initiatives' intended recipients - small businesses.

By Sharon McLoone |  April 24, 2008; 9:20 AM ET Regulation Legislation
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It's disheartening to me that the Democratic party, which has long prided itself on sticking up for the "little guy" so utterly caved to the venture capitalists and big pharma interests - at least the members serving on the two House committees who wouldn't hear from anyone other than syncophants of these two groups (and those who unknowingly or unthinkingly voted for this mess). Where were the voices of the small business owners who are intimately familiar with this program and how it benefits the country? Shut out, that's where. It's now up to the Senate to get this ship righted.

Posted by: Bob Kroshefsky | April 24, 2008 5:40 PM

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