Lawmakers Extend Tech R&D Program

Congress last night extended the life of a popular small business program that was set to expire at the end of this week.

The Senate passed a bill that gives a new lease on life to the Small Business Innovation Research program, which is administered by the Small Business Administration to ensure that small, high-tech firms receive federal government research and development dollars.

Eleven federal agencies participate in the SBIR program, which has generated more than 84,000 patents and millions of jobs, by allocating 2.5 percent of their extramural research and development budgets to it. The National Science Foundation administers the SBIR.gov Web site.

Several lawmakers have been pushing for the program to receive a long-term reauthorization. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), the top Republican on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, said: "It is disappointing that last Congress we were unable to pass a long-term reauthorization bill for vital SBA programs...I look forward to working with [committee] Chair [Mary] Landrieu to fashion bipartisan legislation to make this goal a reality this Congress."

In other Capitol Hill news, the SBA's Office of Advocacy sent a letter of support to Reps. John McHugh (R-N.Y.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) for a bill they introduced (H.R. 1509) that would create a standardized home-office tax deduction.

By Sharon McLoone |  March 18, 2009; 1:40 PM ET Funding , Intellectual Property , Policymakers
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