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Sens. Moran, Warner Introduce Bipartisan Startup Act

Bipartisan jobs bill to encourage creation and growth of new businesses

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), along with Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) today reintroduced the Startup Act – bipartisan jobs legislation to encourage creation and growth of new business.

The Startup Act, S.1877, would accelerate the commercialization of university research that can lead to new ventures, review and 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 United States legally to promote new ideas, fuel economic growth and create good-paying American jobs.

“New business formation and the rate of entrepreneurship have reached historic lows,” said Sen. Moran. “Simply put, America is falling behind and losing talent and jobs to countries overseas. Congress must work to reverse these trends and support policies that allow better opportunities for someone to take an idea, bring it to market, and in the process of pursuing that success, create jobs for other Americans. I am proud to introduce the latest version of the Startup Act and help make certain America remains the land of opportunity for innovators and job creators. This bipartisan legislation would reduce barriers to growth, encourage investment in new businesses, improve the regulatory process, keep talent here in the United States and accelerate the commercialization of university research that can lead to new ventures and the creation of good-paying jobs in Kansas and nationwide. With a new administration and a renewed focus on achieving American economic competitiveness, I urge my colleagues to support the Startup Act so that it can be debated and considered in the Senate.”

"For years, we have pushed in Congress for commonsense legislation to encourage entrepreneurship and help startup companies grow and thrive,” said Sen. Warner. “This bipartisan bill seeks to attract and retain the talented innovators and entrepreneurs that will help our country and Virginia promote capital investment and achieve economic growth.”

“The number of new businesses being created in this country is lower than it’s been in decades,” said Sen. Blunt. “The Startup Act will make it easier for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses, resulting in more good-paying American jobs. The bill will also increase U.S. competitiveness by ensuring that we have the workforce we need in high-demand STEM fields, which will pave the way for new innovations and stronger economic growth.”

“Startups and small businesses are engines of job creation and economic growth,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “Our bipartisan bill would make it easier for people to get their ideas off the ground, encourage innovation, and strengthen our workforce to keep the U.S. competitive in the 21st century economy.”

Many of the principles included in the Startup Act are based on the research and analysis by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. According to the 2017 Kauffman Foundation Startup Activity Index, the rate of new entrepreneurs in the U.S. decreased in 2016 to 0.31 percent (from 0.33 percent), or 310 out of every 100,000 adults starting new businesses each month. 

Kauffman research shows that immigrants to the United States are nearly twice as likely as native-born Americans to start businesses, and first-generation immigrants now make up nearly 30 percent of all new U.S. entrepreneurs.

Data also shows that international students studying in the U.S. on temporary visas accounted for nearly two-fifths of all Ph.D.s in STEM fields – that number has doubled over the past three decades. Further, international doctoral students were significantly more likely than domestic students to major and earn degrees in STEM disciplines in the U.S.

“Too many have been left out of our economy. There’s a connection between the long-term decline in entrepreneurship and the effect on productivity, growth and wages,” said Jason Wiens, director of policy, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. “Put simply, fewer startups means a lower quality of life for all Americans. We need more startups, fast. Based on research, we know that skilled immigrants are more likely than native-born to start new business that hire Americans. Job creation, innovation and overall quality of life for all Americans would receive a boost by increasing the numbers of entrepreneurs in our nation, whether American or foreign-born.”

The provisions in the Startup Act have been endorsed by Information Technology Industry Council, National Venture Capital Association, CCIA, Center for American Entrepreneurship, Sprint, SSTI, Engine, CTA, Kansas State University’s Institute for Commercialization, CTIA, Internet Association, Enterprise Center of Johnson County, and Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.

Summary of the Startup Act:

  • Uses existing federal R&D funding to support university initiatives designed to bring cutting-edge research to the marketplace more quickly where it can propel economic growth;
  • Requires all government agencies to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of all proposed “significant rules” with an economic impact of $100 million or more. This new requirement will help determine the efficacy of regulations and their potential impact on the formation and growth of new businesses;
  • Directs the U.S. Department of Commerce to assess state and local policies that aid in the development of new businesses. Through the publication of reports on new business formation and the entrepreneurial environment, lawmakers will be better equipped to encourage entrepreneurship with the most successful policies;
  • Accelerates commercialization of taxpayer-funded research to bolster regional commercialization strategies in converting research into new products and services; and
  • Expands and refines the EDA’s Regional Innovation (RI) program, including restoration to its originally authorized $100 million level under the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act of 1980. The proposed funding increase would support more innovation systems throughout the country and make awards to pilot a wider variety of outcome-based approaches toward addressing regional innovation needs. 
  • Establishes a limited entrepreneurial visa for 75,000 legal immigrants, so they can remain in the United States, launch businesses and create jobs;
  • Creates a new limited STEM visa so 50,000 U.S.-educated foreign students, who graduate with a master’s or Ph.D. in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, can receive a green card and stay in this country where their talent and ideas can fuel growth and create American jobs;
  • Eliminates the per-country caps for employment-based immigrant visas, which hinder U.S. employers from recruiting the top-tier talent they need to grow.

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