SBIR Insider Alert
April 22, 2008 Edition
Dear SBIR Insider,As the saying goes, "It's not over until the fat lady sings," and she is in the wings ready to make her appearance in the full House on Wednesday morning when they vote to accept a very poor SBIR bill, H.R. 5819- SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act.
This bill is predominately based on the House Small Business Committee's draft, with some amendments from the House S&T Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation. The bottom line is that BIO, the large big pharma funded VC organization has gotten everything they wanted, and more. You can see the bill and committee report at www.zyn.com/sbir/insider/h5819rh.pdf
This bill allows more and much larger "jumbo" awards as well as the ability for VC syndicates to have majority ownership and control over a small business. Overall this bill means the probability of a 50% reduction in the number of new phase I and phase II awards.
In the House S&T markup of the bill, Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA) offered an amendment to cap VC ownership and control to 49% (including syndicates). Gingrey rose to the occasion and listened to the concerns of his constituency, and cited a letter by the SBTC. His amendment failed, but at least the committee allowed the subject to be raised. The House Small Business Committee would not even allow the thought of anything contrary to BIO.
Time is almost up. The vote will be held Wednesday. If you want to know what you may be able to do, please read Ann Eskesen's "Call to Action" at: www.zyn.com/sbir/insider/Eskesen08-1.htm Ms. Eskesen is a long time SBIR advocate and president of the Innovation Development Institute. Her message is very important, and time sensitive.
Other views of the reauthorization issue, and the influence of the big pharma lobbyist, BIO, can be found at:
A very good letter sent Tuesday by U.S. Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D-MA) to their Congressional Colleagues is available at: www.zyn.com/sbir/insider/Markey-Tsongas08.htm
There will be a debate prior to the vote on Wednesday. There are 17 amendments offered, but none address reducing the VC issue. Actually one amendment allows MORE! Below is a list (in the order they will be presented) identifying the authors and brief descriptions:
1. Boswell (D-IA) - give priority to areas that have lost major source of employment
2. Ehlers (R-MI) - Leave current set asides unchanged
3. Sestak (R-PA) - better notification of the right of debriefing
4. Matheson (D-UT) - give preference to organizations making significant contributions towards energy efficiency.
5. Giffords (D-AZ) - awardee must have primary business in the US.
6. Graves (R-MO) - Strikes Title II Venture Capital Investment Standards [this makes a bad situation worse]
7. Matsui (D-CA) - Allow business incubators to be partners with sbir companies
8. Sutton (OH) - Give special consideration to pressing transportation and infrastructure research activities
9. Sutton (D-OH) - Give priority to veteran companies
10. Barrow (GA) - Establishes a pilot program to make grants to minority institutions that partner with nonprofit organizations that have experience developing relationships between industry, minority institutions, and other entities.
11. Capito (R-WV) - Add to small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans to the groups to be targeted by the board to make applications for SBIR grants.
12. Carney (D-PA) - Give preference in FAST awards to applicants who include an SBDC program that is accredited for technology services.
13. Gillibrand (D-NY) - Requires a veteran small-business owner must be at least one of the people appointed to the advisory board overseeing the Small Business Innovation Research Program Grants.
14. Walz (D-MN) Require SBA and VA to develop outreach program for vets
15. Foster (IL)/ Ellsworth (IN)/ Altmire (PA) - Prohibits sbir awards to aliens unlawfully in the US, and Prohibit awards to firms in violation of immigration law.
It is expected that the bill will pass, and then be sent to the Senate. If there are a significant number of no votes, it may be possible to fix the severe flaws when it hits the Senate.
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