Can SBIR Reauthorization be Passed in the Waning Days of the 114th Congress?

In last month’s issue we reported that SBIR reauthorization was virtually improbable in this congress.  However, hard work continues on the Hill to try and pass some sort of reauthorization, or perhaps an extension of the programs in order to avoid a potential reauthorization debacle in what will be a heavily burdened new (115th) congress.
With the current government funding CR expiring December 9, 2016, the republicans want to do another short term CR taking us through March 31, 2017 (at current funding levels) rather than an “omnibus” appropriation, (which could set new spending levels) for the remainder of FY-2017.  This means the 115th congress will have to face doing a remaining FY-2017 budget prior to March 31, 2017 as well as a new budget for FY-2018 prior to September 30, 2017.  That’s a tall order.
Those challenges, along with a new administration, make a comprehensive SBIR/STTR reauthorization highly unlikely in the new congress prior to the expiration date of September 30, 2017. This is why we are seeing the movement to get some type of reasonable reauthorization/extension passed in the lame duck session of the 114th.
A legislative vehicle is required, and perhaps the best bet is the 2017 NDAA which is still in the hands of the conference committee.  A stand alone clean SBIR bill is possible but not likely judging from legislative history.
The bottom line is that in order to get this done quickly and without controversy, very few changes to the programs can be made.  We’ll keep you informed.

Courtesy of SBIR Insider

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