Leaders of the House and Senate Small Business committees are working to negotiate a reauthorization of a small business innovation grant that helps smaller businesses get defense contracts, Defense News reported. The Small Business Administration Innovation Research and Technology Transfer (SBIR) program is scheduled to sunset at the end of the month.

SBA uses the program to make joint awards with 11 federal agencies, chiefly DOD.

The reauthorization negotiations center largely around providing oversight to ensure contractors do the work they are paid for, according to Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), ranking member of the House Small Business Committee.

“We’ve got to be very careful that we don’t preclude the ability of companies to be able to meet our defense needs by hamstringing this bill,” Luetkemeyer said.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the top Republican on the Senate Small Business Committee, told Defense News last week that the negotiations had not addressed his concerns, including that some companies rely too much on SBIR instead of diversifying their businesses.

SBIR reauthorization is included in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act, but the Senate’s delayed NDAA action means Congress will need to pass a stand-alone SBIR reauthorization to keep the program going or include it in the continuing resolution taking shape.

ADC photo by Will Noonan