WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship today reported out S. 493, The SBIR and STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011. The 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, and was voted out of the Committee nearly unanimously by a vote of 18-1. Chair Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., introduced the reauthorization last week with Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, and Senators John Kerry, D-Mass., Scott Brown, R-Mass., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Mark Pryor, D-Ark. and Carl Levin, D-Mich.

“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.”

Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee members have tried since 2006 to get a bill to the President’s desk that provides a long-term reauthorization to operate these programs. In December of last year, the Senate was able to pass and send to the House a new compromise that blended the House and Senate bills, bringing together advocates that had been divided for over six years. The compromise continues to have the support of BIO, SBTC, the National Small Business Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, NFIB, the National Venture Capital Association, local technology groups, and various universities.

To view the text of the bill as reported out of the Small Business Committee, please click here.

To see highlights of the compromise, please click here.