Like many people, I’ve sadly lost much hope that Congress will ever pass any legislation that addresses issues that I care about—tackling inequality, supporting economic development, creating new job opportunities across America. But, I’m going to try to overcome my reservations with a strong vote of confidence for the new Startup Act of 2017 (S. 1877). This is a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Moran (R-KS) and Warner (D-VA), along with Senators Blunt (R-MO) and Klobuchar (D-MN).
The Startup Act is a bit of a grab bag, and it’s unlikely that the bill can or will pass in its present form. However, sections of the Act could be passed on their own or be included in other bills as they move through Congress. Thus, it’s important that economic development advocates voice their support for the bill and its key provisions. These include:
- New visa programs to attract foreign entrepreneurs and high level graduate students seeking degrees in STEM-related fields.
- Additional funding for the Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation initiatives.
- Promotes accelerated commercialization of taxpayer funded research
- Creates new mechanism to assess the impact of new federal regulations on entrepreneurial companies.
The bill was introduced in late September and we’ll continue to provide updates on its progress in the 115th Congress.