Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I would like to express my support for the Small Business Research and Development Enhancement Act of 1992. This legislation reauthorizes the Small Business Innovation Research Program and triples the program's size. SBIR enjoys widespread, bipartisan support because it provides a crucial bridge between Government research and real-world products. I am happy to be a cosponsor of this worthy legislation.

The SBIR Program designates for small businesses a small portion of the funds that Government agencies spend on research and encourages these businesses to commercialize the results of their research. Because it merely earmarks already appropriated funds, it does not increase the deficit. And because the agencies select the SBIR small business awardees based on their ability to perform the research required, the Government does not become involved in picking winners and losers.

The GAO and the SBA evaluated the program and both concluded that SBIR is successful at producing commercially viable products from Government-business research projects. SBIR helps us take advantage of the enormous sums of money spent on Federal R&D in our efforts to keep the United States competitive.

Today, United States companies are falling behind their European and Japanese counterparts in many industries in which the United States was once dominant. This is happening not because U.S. research is poor. U.S. basic research, much of which is supported by Federal dollars, is the finest in the world. But there is a failure on the part of U.S. companies to commercialize the results of sophisticated U.S. basic research.

I believe this failure is substantially a result of the U.S. system of capital investment which results in underinvestment both in small companies and in projects with a long-term payback. Small companies are facing a devastating credit crunch as a result of the recession and tougher lending requirements by banks. America's short-term mentality creates a credit crunch for projects whose payback is longer than the next quarter--but turning basic research into a product for which American consumers will pay takes time, often longer than a small business can wait.

The SBIR Program attacks both of these problems. It gives small businesses access to the research money of the Federal Government. And it encourages those who do the research to commercialize it--either on their own or in cooperation with a large firm. This inevitably leads to more jobs for American workers and more innovative products for American consumers.

The SBIR Program leverages Federal R&D dollars in a way that will help make this Nation more competitive without either spending more or picking winners and losers. I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation.