Small Business Legislation with Cicilline Amendment on Way to President's Desk

Dec 15, 2011 Issues:

WASHINGTON, DC – Both houses of the U.S. Congress have passed legislation that includes an amendment offered by freshman Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) to enhance U.S. manufacturing activities, making way now for the President’s signature. As part of the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report, the amendment was included in provisions extending the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs - two programs aimed at increasing small business participation in federal research and development with commercial potential. 

“In order to re-build our economy we need to support our manufacturing sector so that the small businesses that research, develop, and sell products and services made here in the United States have the resources they need to thrive,” said Congressman Cicilline. “My amendment will help ensure we are providing our manufacturers with access to the tools they need to compete in the 21st Century economy.”

The amendment requires that federal agencies making more than $50 million in awards under SBIR/STTR programs include in their annual report to Congress details on efforts undertaken to enhance manufacturing activities. In addition, agencies must also provide an assessment of the effectiveness of actions they have taken to enhance manufacturing activities through SBIR/STTR, and provide recommendations for additional actions to be taken by SBIR/STTR program managers to meet the objective of improving manufacturing activities.

During consideration of SBIR/STTR reauthorization in the House Small Business Committee in May, Congressman Cicilline offered the amendment to identify the ways federal agencies are working to enhance U.S. manufacturing activities. The amendment passed unanimously in Committee, and was included in the measure approved last evening by the full House of Representatives and today by the Senate.

The SBIR/STTR program was established in 1982 with the goal of increasing government funding of innovative small businesses to conduct research and development with the potential for commercialization.  Since its inception, small businesses in the State of Rhode Island have received more than 290 SBIR/STTR awards and more than $100 million in funding.  Under SBIR/STTR, eleven federal agencies with extramural research budgets of $100 million or more must dedicate a percentage of their research budget to technology development contracts for small businesses.