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(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) spoke on the Senate floor to urge her colleagues to support the reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research Program that has been successfully creating jobs and boosting the economy since it was signed into law in 1982. Murray talked about Infinia, a Tri-Cities business that has received support from SBIR and has successfully grown and added jobs. And she urged her colleagues to support this legislation to give innovative small businesses across the country the certainty they need to expand and create jobs.

Senator Murray also discussed the contrasts between the Republican and Democratic long-term spending proposals. And she urged her colleagues to come together around the Democrats’ plans to cut spending responsibly while not threatening our economic recovery and continuing to make the investments we need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build our competitors.

Key excerpts:

“…I strongly support this long-term reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research program, which supports research and development efforts by small businesses that will allow them to grow and create jobs. And…I will continue working with my colleagues to make sure we pass a budget for this year that cuts spending responsibly while continuing to invest in programs that create jobs and boost our economy.”

“…the Small Business Innovation Research Program, or SBIR, is a bipartisan bill that has been successfully creating jobs since it was signed into law by President Reagan in 1982.  The resources this program has provided to small businesses over the years have led to new products, new ideas, and new innovations.  In fact, small business tech firms that receive SBIR grants produce 38% of our country’s patents, they employ 40% of America’s scientists and engineers, and they have produced many of the most important innovations that have driven our economy forward.”

“One company that’s received support is a small business called Infinia, based in the Tri-Cities in Washington state.  Infinia was founded in 1985 as an R&D firm, but they’ve been able to successfully transition to commercial production and have emerged as a leader in our state’s clean-tech industry. And with support from SBIR and other programs, Infinia has been able to develop their products and grow from 30 employees to over 150!  These are good, family-wage jobs in the local community. And this is such a great example of what small businesses can do with just a little bit of support.”

“…I’m hopeful that moderate Republicans will say no to the extreme members of their party and come to the table to work with us to pass a responsible, long-term budget that will help us create jobs and invest in middle class families and workers across the country. Because that’s what this is really all about—creating jobs, getting our economy back on track, and setting our great country up for continued success and prosperity now and in the future. That’s why this budget debate is so important. And it’s why passing the Small Business Investment Research Program is so critical.”

The full text of the speech follows:

“Mr. President—we can’t afford to stop focusing on the most important thing we can do right now for families and small business owners across the county—and that is to continue working to create jobs and boost the economy. 

“Last month, our economy added over 200,000 private sector jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to the lowest rate in two years.

“We have a long way to go, but I am confident we have turned the corner and are moving in the right direction. But we need to continue this progress. 

“That’s why I strongly support this long-term reauthorization of the Small Business Innovation Research program, which supports research and development efforts by small businesses that will allow them to grow and create jobs.

“And it’s why I will continue working with my colleagues to make sure we pass a budget for this year that cuts spending responsibly while continuing to invest in programs that create jobs and boost our economy.

“Mr. President, the Small Business Innovation Research Program, or SBIR, is a bipartisan bill that has been successfully creating jobs since it was signed into law by President Reagan in 1982.

“The resources this program has provided to small businesses over the years have led to new products, new ideas, and new innovations.

“In fact, small business tech firms that receive SBIR grants produce 38% of our country’s patents, they employ 40% of America’s scientists and engineers, and they have produced many of the most important innovations that have driven our economy forward.

“This program has been especially important in my home state of Washington, where over 2,000 grants have been awarded to small businesses, totaling close to $700 million.

“One company that’s received support is a small business called Infinia, based in the Tri-Cities in Washington state.

“Infinia was founded in 1985 as an R&D firm, but they’ve been able to successfully transition to commercial production and have emerged as a leader in our state’s clean-tech industry.

“And with support from SBIR and other programs, Infinia has been able to develop their products and grow from 30 employees to over 150!

“These are good, family-wage jobs in the local community. And this is such a great example of what small businesses can do with just a little bit of support.

“And Mr. President, there are thousands of companies across the country with similar stories, that have received a critical boost from SBIR.

“But unfortunately, the Small Business Innovation Research Program has been operating under short-term reauthorizations over the last few years, creating uncertainty that makes planning  very difficult for companies that want to participate in the program.

“So I urge my colleagues to support this long-term legislation that will help innovative small businesses develop their products, expand, and create jobs.

“Mr. President, I also want to mention another issue we are discussing on the floor this week because it is directly connected to Senate Democrats’ efforts to get workers back on the job. And that is the need to pass a long-term budget bill to keep the government open through the end of the fiscal year.

“I am disappointed that the same Republicans who came into office saying they would focus on the economy, have put forward a damaging and short-sighted budget proposal that would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, devastate workers and small businesses across the country, and threaten to undermine our economic recovery.

“I am disappointed that at a time when middle class families still need some support to get back on their feet after the economic crisis, Republicans proposed a highly politicized, slash-and-burn budget that would pull the rug out from under these families.

“And I am disappointed that while Senate Democrats have put forward ideas to make responsible and prudent budget cuts that will allow us to continue out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our competitors—Republicans proposed a budget that would hack away at investments that strengthen our ability to compete now and improve the quality of life for our children in the future.

“Their proposal would: Slash education programs like Head Start; Decimate housing and economic development; Eliminate community health centers that serve the most vulnerable families; And cut off critical investments in our workers and infrastructure.

“And independent analysts have said their plan would destroy up to 700,000 American jobs across the country—including an estimated 15,000 in my home state of Washington.

“This would be absolutely devastating—and we simply can’t afford to let it happen.

“That’s why, Mr. President, Senate Democrats have put forward a proposal that goes in a very different direction.

“Our plan would also cut spending—billions of dollars, in fact—but it would do so in a responsible and measured way that protects middle class families and doesn’t kill jobs.

“And it would continue making the investments we need as a country to compete and win in the 21st century economy.

“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to pass our proposal—and now we have to pass a short-term funding bill to keep the government from shutting down.

“But weekly spending bills are no way to run a government.

“So I’m hopeful that moderate Republicans will say no to the extreme members of their party and come to the table to work with us to pass a responsible, long-term budget that will help us create jobs and invest in middle class families and workers across the country.

“Because that’s what this is really all about—creating jobs, getting our economy back on track, and setting our great country up for continued success and prosperity now and in the future.

“That’s why this budget debate is so important. And it’s why passing the Small Business Investment Research Program is so critical. 

“So I urge my colleagues to support this reauthorization to support small business and invest in innovation and growth in Washington state and across the country.

“Thank you. I yield the floor.”