SBIR Gateway

SBIR Insider Newsletter
September 27, 2010



Dear SBIR Gateway Insider,

This is the type of story I very much dislike sending you. It's one of the toughest I've had to write.

In this issue:

SBIR/STTR/CPP Expiration Looms

The SBIR/STTR/CPP now appears likely to expire on Thursday night, September 30. Some will deny it but here's what's happening.

Allegedly the Senate and House were close to a compromise complete with an 8 year reauthorization of SBIR/STTR/CPP but each time it goes back to the House (Nydia & Day), they change the VC language to masquerade 100% VC involvement as a compromise.

Because time is so short, the Senate passed a bill (S.3839) to simply extend SBIR/STTR/CPP through January 31, 2010. The House was going to pass it on Wednesday with the President signing Thursday. However, the word on the street is that Nydia Velazquez, chair of the House Small Business Committee, and her illustrious second, Michael Day, are rejecting the bill and are poised to let SBIR expire if necessary, at least in the short term.

It seems that Velazquez's hope is to move the SBIR reauthorization into the lame duck session and incorporate all her Wall Street investors' 100% non-compromise VC ownership and jumbo award support into a must pass, end of the year omnibus bill that can't be touched by her detractors.

This sounds like a script for TV, but several years ago we had a similar year end omnibus situation involving Nydia (as ranking member) and Sam Graves (subcommittee chair) and BIO/NVCA, but the main difference was that the small business committee chair was Donald Manzullo who nipped it in the bud. In our scenario today we have to look to the House leadership to do it, but it will take your involvement.

Many senior people in the democratic party called for the House to support the Senate compromise bill H.R. 2965, but Nydia ignored those calls, as did Jason Altmire, the creator of this infamous Altmire Quagmire. Now Nydia's really "miffed" because last week she tried to "scrub" H.R.5297, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, but the Obama administration and Speaker Pelosi rolled her over and passed it.

Call to Action

If SBIR is important to you and your company, it's time to get serious and realize that this program can, and will go away unless you make a big noise to let your politician's know how you feel. All of us are sick of this, and we're now facing a lapse. Eight times this program has been deemed important enough to keep going (via a CR) but will Nydia be successful in blocking this ninth attempt?

Voting will occur in the House on Wednesday and this may be the last time until after the election that the SBIR extension bill could voted on. That means we must act on Tuesday, September 28.

Here are some suggestions and rationale behind them.

CALL CALL CALL the House Tuesday September 21! Call Nancy Pelosi's office at (202) 225-4965, Steny Hoyer (majority leader) at (202) 225-4131, Nydia Velazquez (202) 225-2361, also the House Small Business Committee line (202) 225-4038

Those of you who are good democrats, call the remaining House Democratic caucus leaders: John Larson 202- 225-2265, Xavier Becerra 202-225-6235, Jim Clyburn (202)225-3315

Those of you who are good republicans, call John Boehner (202) 225-6205, Eric Cantor 202-225-2815

Tell them in your own words that SBIR is about to expire and is being held hostage by Nydia Velazquez. Let them know how important continuation of SBIR is to your business and the country. Ask them to please support S.3839 (additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958) to keep the program from lapsing this week.

I realize that I'm asking you to do something that requires a good chunk of your time. However, at the risk of losing you as a reader I must tell you that I donate a large share of my time to try and keep you informed about this program, and I'm not asking you to do anything for me, only for you and others like you. We do have some good representatives from both parties BUT they need to hear from you and quickly.

If you're bold ask, "I would like to know how a party can let itself get hijacked by a few people (like Nydia) on a vitally important, highly regarded and accepted program. This action is to the detriment of your constituents, the country, and yes, even your own party!"

Here's what's going on in the back rooms (formerly smoke filled) The Senate agreed on a 4 month extension for SBIR because they (Senate) largely (including many on the Republican side) did not feel a reasonable bill could be passed in the lame duck session. The Senate has offered up some huge compromises that some believe even James Greenwood from BIO could live with. The very long shot is that with enough pressure we might get a compromise bill passed by Thursday.

What Happens If SBIR Lapses, Even For A Short Time

This is an interesting question. Theoretically those projects (grants and contracts) that are already in place should be okay, but some not. All new unsigned agreements would stop. Agency comptrollers may start adjusting their budgets to put the overall 2.8% SBIR/STTR back into their own research pools. Administrative funding for SBIR could be severely cut back. Remember, all of your grants and contracts are "subject to the availability of funding."

On the other hand, SBIR can be voluntary, so some agencies may choose to keep their SBIR doors open, hoping for, or expecting the reinstatement of the program.

In any event, this is bad for you and the agencies.

The Insider will be on the Hill Wednesday and Thursday, so we'll do a follow up report to you asap.

SBIR 2.0 Joint Robotics Solicitation

As part of a new SBIR 2.0 initiative, five agencies consisting of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), National Science Foundation (NSF), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have released a new type of joint SBIR solicitation.

The areas of topic interest from these five agencies are based on Robotics Technology Development and Deployment, and will open to receive proposals on November 20, 2010 and close on December 20, 2010.

The NIH is heading up this grants based solicitation offering and submissions will go through the same process as NIH's SBIR, that being grants.gov and eRA commons. Remember that grants.gov and eRA commons require more time for you to register, so please start early. Also, a letter of intent is suggested, but not mandatory.

This joint solicitation requires some rethinking on the parts of DARPA and DHS submitters because those two agencies' normally use contracts based awards with submissions going directly through their own web sites, which is NOT the case for this solicitation. Those of you used to DARPA and DHS solicitations will find there is no "presolicitation" phase for direct contact with topic authors as used in their contract solicitations.

It is likely there will be a few bumps and grinds in this process so make sure you read the documentation carefully, and record any problems encountered in the event you have a complaint.

The complete solicitation is available on the NIH web site at:

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-10-279.html

Many of you were caught off guard by this new type of SBIR solicitation. We hope to do an interview with Sean Greene of the SBA on the future of SBIR 2.0. You can read about SBA's plans at www.sba.gov/sbir2/

All of the Joint Robotics Solicitation topics are included in the SBIR Gateway's Open Topic Search at www.zyn.com/sbir

That's it for the moment. Thanks again for your time and we welcome your comments.

Sincerely,

Rick

Rick Shindell
SBIR Gateway
Zyn Systems
40 Alderwood Dr.
Sequim, WA 98382
360-681-4123
rick@zyn.com
www.zyn.com/sbir

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