legislation

No budget, but lame duck Congress passes innovation bills

While Congress was unable to pass a budget before funding ran out, legislators did advance multiple innovation-related proposals. Here is a quick summary of what the lame duck session did (and did not do) for tech-based economic development.

New legislative activity during the lame duck session:

Six innovation highlights in the new defense bill

The House and Senate have agreed to the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2019. As anticipated, the legislation addresses many small business and innovation policies. Changes relevant to tech-based economic development affect SBIR, advanced manufacturing, and partnerships with defense labs.

SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council visits Capitol Hill

This week, members of SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council met with more than two dozen Congressional offices to discuss the Startup Act and Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program funding. The Startup Act would expand RIS, create a new commercialization grant program and provide new paths for innovation-related immigration. RIS is slated to receive level funding of $17 million for FY 2018 in the House and $21 million in the Senate.

Support for Startup Act grows

Support for the recently introduced Startup Act continues to build across the country. The legislation, profiled earlier in the Digest, would accelerate the commercialization of university research, improve the regulatory processes at the federal, state and local levels, and modernize a critical Economic Development Administration (EDA) program to promote innovation and spur economic growth.

House passes bill enhancing SBIR

The U.S. House this week passed H.R. 2763, which would amend the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs in several significant ways. Most notably, the bill would extend by five years the “assistance for administrative… costs,” which is used for outreach initiatives and some business and market assistance initiatives across agencies.

Startup Act would reauthorize Regional Innovation Strategies, implement commercialization grants

Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) along with Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)  introduced the Startup Act today – legislation that would help regions throughout the country address critical gaps between R&D and economic prosperity. SSTI has worked with the offices on sections of the bill that reauthorize and expand the Regional Innovation Strategies program and would implement a new commercialization grants program. SSTI supports the Startup Act (S. 1877) and calls upon other senators to cosponsor this bill and for the House to take up the legislation.

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