Dear SBIR Insider,
With your help and a ground swell of support S.1082, "The Small Business Additional Temporary Extension Act of 2011" has passed overwhelmingly, thereby extending SBIR/STTR/CPP "as is" though September 30, 2011. The President will quickly sign this bill and there will be no lapse in the SBIR programs.
Repeat: SBIR/STTR/CPP are now extended through the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2011.
Preliminary vote count:
The bill was passed 387 / 33
Republicans 224 / 11
Democrats 163 / 22
In this issue:
Velazquez Tries to Defeat SBIR Extension
Many of you refused to believe what a negative influence Nydia Velazquez (ranking member of the House Small Business Committee) has been toward SBIR and other small business programs. Here's but another example as she fought to defeat S.1082. She sent out a Dear Colleague letter asking democrats to defeat this bill so she could create a better one later. S.1082 is just a simple bill extending these programs "as is", but Velazquez would prefer to see all these programs lapse for a couple of weeks (the Senate is in recess until June 7) until she could try and get her way.
Velazquez has been an impediment to SBIR reauthorization for years and has been unwilling to hold fair hearings or compromise efforts on SBIR reauthorization during the years she was chair of the House Small Business Committee.
We'll have the full story and the roll call vote in an upcoming issue. In opposing Velazquez's efforts, kudos should go to democratic representatives Edward J. Markey, Niki Tsongas, Peter Welch, Gerald E. Connolly, Paul D. Tonko, Joe Courtney, and Mazie K. Hirono for a "Dear Colleague" letter they authored in support of the bill. We have heard that David Wu has also signed on, but it wasn't in the copy we have.
Velazquez Fails to Make International Travel Expense Reports
Today's Roll Call newspaper reports that Nydia Velazquez failed to report her international travel reports (for thousands of dollars) in a timely manner. Reports due within 60 days of travel were recently filed for trips taken in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
What Velazquez's office calls a "simple clerical error", would trigger a major Waste Fraud & Abuse (WFA) case as defined in Velazquez's proposed WFA amendment in her SBIR legislation. Sure, clerical errors happen, but if it were a small SBIR business, she would "most likely" be the first to say "you're guilty" or "greedy". Honest mistakes can happen to any of us, but investigation should be no less stringent for her than what she wants to put on you.
Could Nydia's "International Travel" have anything to do with her push to allow outside investors to have majority ownership of an SBIR business, without regard to the nationality of the investment organization? Oh yes, Nydia was severely critical of the SBA's 2003 ruling that Cognetix could not participate in SBIR because they were majority owned by VCs (AIG of Switzerland, and another Canadian company). The ownership language in the House SBIR bill would make it extremely difficult to determine the origin of the ownership funds for the SBIR business. If anyone tells you that the ownership structure of an entity is not significant in the SBIR program, they are missing the point of small business programs, not to mention the sensitivity of participation in DoD or DHS programs.
Velazquez frequently states that her committee needs to do more oversight of the SBIR program. My question is "Who is doing the oversight of her committee?"