Dear SBIR Gateway Insider,
Here's the story you've been waiting for!
In this issue:
House & Senate Reach Compromise On New CR For SBIR & Small Biz Programs
The House and the Senate have reached a compromise to extend (via a CR) the SBIR Program and other SBA small business programs from March 20, 2009 to July 31, 2009!
In a bill to originate in the House, this legislation will amend PL 110-235 (the current CR) that expires on March 20, 2009. As reported earlier, the House wanted a short fuse while the Senate wanted a longer one. As for SBIR reauthorization, there is a lot of work to be done and plenty of competition for congressional attention prior to the July 31 date, not to mention that Congress will be taking their 1 month "state work period" break on August 10, 2009.
It is expected that the new legislation will take effect March 19, 2009.
Update On SBIR/STTR Exemption From NIH ARRA Stimulus Funding
Last issue we reported that the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SBE) wrote a letter to the HHS expressing their concern over the NIH action to exempt SBIR from their ARRA Stimulus funding.
The NIH always strenuously objected to actions that would raise the SBIR 2.5% allocation. Their argument was based on the theory that "A Rising Tide Raises All Boats", thus as their research funding increases so would the SBIR funding. Obviously NIH actions on the Stimulus Bill puts SBIR on a "non-tide affected waterway." This did not go unnoticed by the (SBE) Chair, Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and ranking member Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and they let HHS know of their concern.
Now Senators Russell Feingold (D-WI) and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) have sent their own letter of concern to Raynard S. Kington, Acting Director of the NIH echoing that of Landrieu and Snowe. It was Senator Feingold who offered the first SBIR reauthorization bill of this Congress, S.177 back in January of this year, and it called for increases in the SBIR (2.5%) and STTR (.3%)
Following in the footsteps of Landrieu and Snowe to the HHS, Feingold and Cardin have stated to NIH:
Thus, notwithstanding passage of the ARRA, HHS remains responsible for
allocating 2.5 percent and .3 percent of its research and development funds to
SBIR and STTR, respectively. Since the ARRA provided $8.2 billion to the NIH
for research and development, HHS must ensure that an amount equivalent to 2.8
percent of this total, or $229 million, is allocated to these two programs. We look
forward to HHS's explanation of how it will meet these requirements.
We'll keep you informed on the progress.
A word of caution: It is not likely, but things could go bad at the last minute so don't let your guard down. I'll drop you a quick note as soon as the CR is signed. Then the work of creating an SBIR reauthorization bill will heat up. Congress doesn't have to wait until the July 31, 2009 expiration date, but you know they have plenty on their plates to contend with.
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