SBIR Gateway

SBIR Insider Newsletter
September 16, 2010

Dear SBIR Gateway Insider, Most of you are waiting to hear the latest on the SBIR reauthorization saga. The best I can give you is a quote I used to receive from my grandmother, "There is much to talk about but nothing to say."

In this issue:

SBIR Reauthorization Status

As most of you know, the SBIR and STTR programs are authorized only through September 30, 2010, and unless a reauthorization bill or continuing resolution is passed to extend these programs, they will expire on October 1, 2010.

The Senate is trying very hard to pass a compromise reauthorization bill before that date, but House cooperation is in doubt and we are running out of time.

Here’s the skinny on where we are. The Senate sent a very generous compromise bill to the House back in October of 2009. The House waited 9 months before responding to the Senate’s offer in July of this year. Both House & Senate were in recess for the month of August and the first week and a half of September.

The main stumbling block continues to be… you guessed it, the VC majority ownership and control issue. The Senate’s offer to the House back in October was to raise the VC compromise from allowing up to 18% of NIH award dollars and 8% of all other agencies award dollars to 25% for NIH, NSF, and DOE, and 20% to all remaining agencies including the DoD. That’s a huge concession on the part of the Senate.

The 9 month wait on the part of Nydia Velazquez (House Small Business Committee Chair) was to have her ventriloquist… oops I mean staffer, Michael Day, create a response to the Senate that was a study in obfuscation on the VC issue.

After careful and lengthy analysis, the Senate Small Business Committee determined that Mr. Day’s prose was "Night & Day" from what it appeared to be, and legally his language gave 100% SBIR access to majority VC ownership companies!

Neither Mary Landrieu (D-LA), chair of the Senate Small Business Committee, nor Olympia Snowe (R-ME), ranking member, will put up with the Velazquez/Day shenanigans.

Senate & House committees are very close on everything except the additional leveraging on the VC issue. With the Senate’s more than generous offer, there’s no reason for the House to continue hold back. They simply will not receive any more concessions.

It’s a long shot, but SBIR reauthorization could be passed before the end of the month if both sides commit to it. If that doesn't work, the word from "Secret Squirrel" is that Velazquez will push for another short 3 month extension (which will make 9 successive CRs) in order to get a "lame duck" congress to include her language in a "must pass" end of the year omnibus bill.

Landrieu would most likely try and go for a 6 month extension allowing for enough time for the next congress to handle SBIR reauthorization.

In the mean time, the Senate and House Armed Services Committees will consider if they should just take the DoD SBIR program into their own hands and bypass these clowns in the House small biz committee.

Note to Ms. Pelosi and House leadership: Your continued level of support for Wall Street over Main Street in the SBIR program has been abysmal. Legendary small business advocate Milton Stewart coined the phrase about congress’ actions toward small business, "In public they'll hug them, in private they'll mug them".

However, in the case of SBIR (in the House small business and S&T committees), you’re so brazen to not even bother to mug them in private!

This scenario is not played out in the House Armed Services Committee, who in cooperation with the Senate Armed Services Committee, worked hard to protect small businesses in the SBIR program.

Nancy, you can make reauthorization a reality by September 30, and have many of your flock on the campaign trail take credit for passing an extremely successful small business program. On the other hand, you can hold firm as you have been doing, and let your flock take the hits from hundreds or thousands of companies while your incumbents are trying to get reelected. That could be another nail in the proverbial coffin of democratic control in the House. Try this on for size: "Minority Leader Pelosi".

SBTC To Honor Congressionals For SBIR Support

The Small Business Technology Council (SBTC) has announced their selections for the prestigious Milton Stewart Small Business Advocacy Awards that will be presented in a ceremony to take place in Washington, DC September 29, 2010.

This award is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to small business technology companies.

This year's awardees have demonstrated a commitment to promoting and nurturing American small business, and the SBTC is proud to show appreciation for their hard work.

US House of Representatives:

Chairman Ike Skelton
-US House Armed Services Committee

Chairman Norman Dicks
-US House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense

Chairman Edward Markey
-US House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming

Representative Niki Tsongas

Representative Donald Manzullo

Representative Peter Welch

Representative Phil Gingrey

Representative Chris Van Hollen, Jr.

Representative Paul Tonko

US Senate:

Chairwoman Mary Landrieu
-US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Ranking Member Olympia Snowe
-US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship

Chairman Carl Levin
-US Senate Committee on Armed Services

Department of Energy:

Dr. Kristina Johnson
-Under Secretary for Energy

For further information visit the SBTC’s web site at

This issue of the SBIR Insider is coming to you from San Antonio, TX at the DoD’s Beyond Phase II conference. If you could see the extent of the success, talent and commitment on display here by the small businesses, primes and the agencies, you'd fire many of those politicians who have stonewalled SBIR reauthorization for so long.

The Wall Street lobbyists of BIO and NVCA appear to "own and control" the House small biz committee, its Chair Velazquez (D-NY), and the ranking member Sam Graves (R-MO). But those winning this year’s Milton Stewart Awards (listed above) should be given full consideration for your support if you value SBIR.

I say "consideration for your support" because the SBIR Insider would never be so presumptuous as to try and tell you how to vote. That’s entirely your business. However, we will tell you how our elected leaders support small business and SBIR causes.

For those who are interested, I was asked to be on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street program a couple of weeks ago, not about SBIR, but other small business issues and the politics of small business. Guests included Karen Mills, SBA Administrator and Heidi Jacobus of Cybernet (an SBIR company). You can see it on CNBC’s web site at

Stay tuned and we'll be back with you as soon as the SBIR reauthorization or CR is made.

Thanks again for your time and we welcome your comments.



Rick Shindell
SBIR Gateway
Zyn Systems
40 Alderwood Dr.
Sequim, WA 98382
[email protected]

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