Press Release

House Subcommittee Approves SBIR Bill

By SpaceRef Editor
April 16, 2008
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Republicans Object to Process, Urge Open Rule Before the House

Washington D.C. – The Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation today approved H.R. 5789, the Science and Technology Innovation Act of 2008. The bill reauthorizes the Small Business Investment Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Both of which have been regarded as largely successful programs for promoting the growth of cutting-edge, high-tech small business in this country.

However, Republican Members at today’s markup objected to the expedited process by which the bill is being brought before the Committee. Upon being approved today, the bill will not go before the full Committee, as is customary with regular order. Instead, the bill will be merged with similar legislation coming out of the Small Business Committee before going to the floor for House consideration.

While supportive of both programs, Subcommittee Ranking Member Phil Gingrey (R-GA) objected to the process, and requested that the Majority urge an open rule as the legislation moves before the House. “The SBIR and STTR programs were created to provide critical funding to small companies so they could conduct R&D that they otherwise would not be able to afford,” Gingrey said. “Unfortunately, our Members who are not on this Subcommittee will not have the chance to make improvements to this bill before it moves to the House floor. The Science and Technology Committee has jurisdiction over a large portion of these programs, and I am disappointed that we did not follow regular process in passing this important piece of legislation.”

Subcommittee member Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) echoed this sentiment, further urging Committee Members to work together to assert the Committee’s jurisdiction on this important piece of legislation. “Whenever this Committee has jurisdiction, we must fight to make sure we get a fair shake in forming science policy,” Ehlers said. “After holding numerous hearings on the SBIR and STTR programs in the last session, our Committee Members have valuable input and should have the chance to offer amendments. As one of the youngest Committees, we must not allow our interests to be overlooked like this in the future.”

Republicans at today’s markup offered numerous amendments to improve the legislation. Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) offered an amendment that was agreed to that adds a section requiring priority be given to SBIR and STTR applications from rural areas. H.R. 5789 passed out of Subcommittee by voice vote.

SpaceRef staff editor.