SBIR Insider Newsletter
May 2, 2011
It's 2:00am (local time) and I'm sitting in a hotel room in Nashville with some vital SBIR/STTR information I just received, which you should be made aware of. With blurry eyes, let's get started.
This coming Wednesday morning, May 4, 2011 the full Senate will vote on their SBIR reauthorization bill (S.493). This bill has been a victim of circumstance (over 120 amendments) and is in grave danger of not passing.
The Senate will try to invoke cloture (close the bill to additional amendments) and then immediately vote to try and pass the bill. If passed, the Senate will have this bill as a tool to negotiate with the House when they pass their bill. Both bodies will then work in conference to pass a final SBIR/STTR reauthorization.
However, if the Senate fails to pass S.493, the House will have the upper hand and momentum to push their bill into law with minimal input from the Senate, or perhaps the Senate will drop it altogether and there will be no reauthorization (keeping us in the short term CR mode we have been on).
The bottom line is that if you want a shot at a balanced SBIR reauthorization, you need to call your Senators on Tuesday (that's today) and ask them to please vote to pass S.493. Some of our Senate insiders say this is vital!
Should you choose to do this, please call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard - 202-224-3121 - Ask for your Senator's office. When connected, ask them to please support and pass S.493, the "SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011" which will come to the floor Wednesday. Be brief and polite.
Coincidentally, on Wednesday morning the House Science, Space & Technology Committee will be doing their markup of the House SBIR bill, H.R.1425. A few major differences between the House and Senate versions include:
House: Giving 45% of SBIR award dollars (estimated at $886m) to companies that are majority owned and controlled by Venture Capital organizations, and/or Hedge Funds, and/or Private Equity Investment Firms (for NIH, NSF & DOE). The other agencies can have up to 35%.
Senate: Up to 25% (VCs, not hedge funds or private equity investment firms) for NIH, NSF, DOE, and 15% for the other agencies.
House: Allows direct to phase II (bypassing phase I), Senate says No!
House: No raise in the SBIR/STTR allocations
Senate: Raise SBIR allocation from 2.5% to 3.5% over ten years, and STTR to 0.6% over the same period.
House: Wants to give the agencies 3% of SBIR award dollars to the agencies for admin expenses (without raising the allocations), thereby reducing award money to the small businesses.
Senate: Wants to give the agencies 3% of SBIR award dollars to the agencies for admin expenses (paid for by raising the allocations).
House: 3 year reauthorization
Senate: 8 years
The House bill does have some good provisions which should be considered when/if the two bodies meet for conferencing on SBIR.
The universities are fighting mightily against raising the allocation, but are pushing the House to consider raising the STTR to 0.6% by reducing the SBIR from 2.5% to 2.2%. We'll see if this is included in the House SS&T hearing on Wednesday.
Other organizations such as the SBTC and SBBC as well as state organizations are doing their part to help with reauthorization but they too need your support.
There is much more to discuss with you, but it will have to wait till the next issue. Thanks to the folks in Wisconsin for putting on an excellent National SBIR conference.
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