Earlier today at an awards ceremony in Herndon, Virginia, I got a chance to recognize the men, women and companies that have made outstanding contributions to NASA’s indispensable partnership with small business. The Fourth Annual NASA Small Business Symposium and Awards Ceremony was a two-day event, providing opportunities for small businesses to network and learn about NASA programs and initiatives, while recognizing outstanding individuals and companies that support the agency’s small business program. Awards were presented to both NASA civil servants and large and small businesses that were instrumental in NASA awarding $4.3 billion to small businesses in FY 2011. This represented 17.9 percent of NASA contracting and exceeded our goal for 2011.
Small businesses are not only crucial to NASA’s trailblazing achievements in space exploration; they are the backbone of the American economy. As the wheels of our economy continue to pick up speed, it is important to remember that small business is the engine that is getting us moving again. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small firms have generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years. And federal procurement for women, minority and veteran-owned small businesses are a big part of that equation.
The Obama Administration understands the importance of this sector and has consistently worked, through SBA loans, technical assistance and numerous tax incentives, to help more small businesses start and grow.
The President’s American Jobs Act would do even more. It would cut the payroll tax in half for 98 percent of businesses. The President’s plan would completely eliminate payroll taxes for firms that increase their payroll by adding new workers or increasing the wages of their current workers. It would also extend 100% expensing into 2012 and put in place reforms and regulatory reductions to help entrepreneurs and small businesses access capital.
NASA shares the Administration’s strong commitment to the small business community and I am proud of what we have done under the leadership of our Associate Administrator in the Office of Small Business Programs, Glenn Delgado, to move the ball forward.
There will be new opportunities to work with small business partners as NASA takes its next big leap into deep space exploration. As a result of our focus on developing a new Space Launch System that will be capable of taking our astronauts into deep space, we are turning over transport of astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station and other low earth destinations to commercial crew partners. We also have an ambitious slate of upcoming science missions and we are continuing our aeronautics work to build the Next Generation Air Transportation System. All of this means jobs for the American people and new opportunities for small business. Congratulations to all this year’s Small Business Award winners. I look forward to strengthening and expanding our partnerships in the year ahead.