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Votes in favor of ending debate on Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR)

(Washington, D.C.) – Citing its importance to not only creating jobs but also to national security, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) today voted to move forward with reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program in the Senate. The “cloture” vote would have ended debate, so that a final vote for passage could be scheduled.  It required 60 votes to pass and failed 52-44.

“SBIR is a bill that benefits our present and future economic well-being, as well as our national security,” Shaheen said. “It helps drive job growth across the country, and as a program that promotes ingenuity and innovation, it helps shape America’s competitive edge. In turn, many federal agencies have come to rely on small, innovative companies to help them think outside the box and solve important problems, especially in national security. At a recent hearing, I asked a Department of Defense official about SBIR. He said it was something they ‘absolutely need.’ He said that if you spend a day with the small, innovative entrepreneurs involved in this program, ‘your mind explodes with new ideas.’ That’s the kind of innovative spirit that we need to stay competitive.”

Senate Republicans objected to ending debate on the bill, demanding that the final measure include votes on unrelated issues. When Democrats filed today’s motion to end debate after five weeks, Republicans voted as a block to filibuster the bill.

“It is unfortunate that partisan wrangling over procedures has delayed consideration of this bill, even though there is bipartisan support for the bill and its goals,” Shaheen said.

Shaheen has been a leading advocate for the legislation, which would authorize the SBIR program for the next eight years. It was introduced by Shaheen and a bipartisan group of her fellow Small Business Committee members on March 4.

First created by legislation from New Hampshire Senator Warren Rudman, SBIR was established in 1982 to increase participation of small, innovative companies in federally funded research and development. Since its creation, New Hampshire firms have received over $330 million in research grants through the SBIR program. Over the last two years, New Hampshire firms received 80 total awards totaling $26 million in grants through SBIR. Despite its size, New Hampshire is ranked 22nd in the nation for total grants awarded through the Department of Defense over the life of the program.

To view the text of bill S. 493, click here.

To view highlights of the bill, click here