Bipartisan legislation would provide $110 billion for R&D, regional innovation

A bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators have introduced bills that would make a five-year commitment to increase America’s investment in R&D by $100 billion, while also investing $10 billion in regional technology hubs. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Todd Young (R-IN) and Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI) introduced the Endless Frontiers Act, which articulates both investments.

Congress passes $2 trillion emergency aid package

The third package of emergency assistance related to COVID-19 is currently making its way through Congress, having passed the Senate last night and being expected to pass the House tomorrow. The legislation includes additional emergency loans and tax credits for retaining employees, as well as near-term aid for individuals, small businesses, and some of the most affected industries. While relatively little assistance is directly relevant to science- and innovation-related business development, many broader small business provisions can still be of assistance to these companies.

Defense bill extends Regional Innovation Strategies, Manufacturing USA

This year’s national defense authorization act (NDAA) includes extensions of the Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program and Manufacturing USA. The House and Senate have passed the FY 2020 legislation, which authorizes up to $738 billion in appropriations and sets policy for a wide range of defense-related activities. The NDAA is one of the few bills that passes Congress each year. For this reason, the bill is often viewed as a vehicle for defense-related policies that may not garner sufficient attention separately. In 2018, for example, the NDAA extended SBIR/STTR pilot programs. The following policy areas addressed in the FY 2020 NDAA are the most relevant to regional innovation economies:

Virginia’s proposed legislation for innovation gathering steam

While Virginia has worked over the past 30 years to build their innovation economy, this past year it changed up the game. SSTI recently talked with Robby Demeria, Virginia’s deputy secretary of commerce and trade for technology, about the planning underway in Virginia and how the commonwealth is proceeding with a new initiative to grow their economy.

Senate approved revamped Regional Innovation Strategies as part of defense bill

Thanks to leadership by Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), the Senate approved a revamped authorization of the Regional Innovation Strategies program (RIS) as part of its National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2020 (NDAA). The bill would extend the program’s funding authority to $50 million per year through FY 2024. Further changes would define venture development organizations and recast RIS to have a greater emphasis on achieving beneficial economic outcomes within the awardee regions, including increasing the availability of financing for innovation-based business ventures and completing the introduction of new products, processes and services to market.

Startup Act reintroduced, would expand federal innovation support

Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), co-signed by Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), re-introduced the Startup Act today. The bill would enact an array of innovation policies, including reauthorizing Regional Innovation Strategies, creating a new commercialization grant program, and implementing a startup visa. SSTI has endorsed the bill and hopes to see the legislation passed by the 116th Congress.

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.

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. Help SSTI communicate the importance of these initiatives for your region! Contact SSTI (614-901-1690 | contactus@ssti.org) to add your voice.

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. The legislation also creates both entrepreneur and STEM visas for highly-educated individuals so they can remain in the U.S. legally to help fuel economic growth. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), along with Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) have received support from SSTI and a number of other groups, including the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, and Engine.


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