Senate Fails to Act on SBIR Bill

May 4, 2011


Molly Brogan


Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate earlier today failed to act on the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 493). A motion for cloture offered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) failed to garner the needed 60 votes, primarily due to the insistence by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) that the Senate also consider her amendment to the bill which mirrors her Small Business Regulatory Freedom Act (S.474).

Although NSBA has endorsed Snowe’s legislation, NSBA President Todd McCracken urged Sen. Snowe to allow the SBIR bill to proceed without her amendment. McCracken underscored NSBA’s commitment to aggressively support her regulatory reform bill following the passage of S. 493.

“Unfortunately, the Senate failed yet again to move forward on this critical legislation,” stated McCracken. “Countless hours have been spent crafting the Senate’s compromise, and it is a detriment to the program, small businesses and American innovation that it wasn’t approved today.”

The legislation has been stuck since March on the floor of the Senate, as the chamber sought to deal with an avalanche of non-germane amendments to the bill. NSBA is calling on Senate leadership to revisit the SBIR bill as well as allow for a stand-alone vote on S. 474. Currently set to expire at the end of May, the Senate’s failure to pass the legislation could spell trouble for the broadly-endorsed compromise given the quickly-moving House bill, which, it appears, will include significant provisions not supported by NSBA.

“The highly-successful SBIR program is too critical to small-business innovation for it to be the target of political gamesmanship,” stated McCracken.

SBIR is the nation’s largest source of early-stage research and development (R&D) funding and is responsible for 25 percent of the most critical U.S. innovations of the last decade.

Since 1937, NSBA has advocated on behalf of America’s entrepreneurs. A staunchly nonpartisan organization, NSBA reaches more than 150,000 small businesses nationwide and is proud to be the nation’s first small-business advocacy organization. For more information, please visit