Here's your update to yesterday's (September 21, 2011) SBIR Insider concerning the defeat of HR 2608 the continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government and SBIR/STTR/CPP open through November 18, 2011.
Late Thursday night (actually early Friday morning) the House passed (219 to 203) a "slightly" modified version of the already amended HR 2608, to provide temporary funding of the government through November 18, 2011. The good news is that the SBIR/STTR/CPP portion remained in the bill. The bad news is that this bill stands little chance of passing the Senate when it arrives there Friday morning.
There will be grandstanding by both parties but the urgency of passing a government wide CR should win out. Here's why: In addition to a government shutdown, FEMA (according to most sources) will run out of money in their disaster relief efforts in the next several days unless a CR is passed. Can you imagine running for reelection when you turned your back on all these people injured and homeless from these storms?
As for implications to SBIR, we will have to wait and see what the Senate sends back to the House. The good news is that SBIR has many friends in the Senate who should be looking out to make sure SBIR is included in a CR.
We'll be following it closely for you.
I'm shocked by how many of you responded positively to this section yesterday, so here we go again. Those of you not interested in the political minutia can hit the delete button and go back to living your life. Those of us who stick with this section should probably go out and get a life (yes I'm included in this group..) Here's what went down:
This bill (HR 2608) was passed in the wee hours Friday morning by blurry-eyed representatives in what can best be described as a barn burner scripted by Mel Brooks! When Stormin Norman Dicks (D-WA) gets cranked up, the parliamentarians run for cover. Even appropriations chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) got exercised. I'll bet his pulse exceeded 50.
Yes there was serious rhetoric on both sides but many realized this was going nowhere in the Senate, so the speeches were mostly political posturing.
In order to get this bill passed, Speaker Boehner and his republican leadership made the decision to try and bring home the 48 republican votes they lost yesterday by his more conservative and "T-party" flock who voted against the bill. This group wasn't happy with the spending cuts and wanted more.
Boehner and his leadership merely added a section to HR 2608 that rescinded $100 million from the DOE's remaining fy-2011 funds from the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Loan Program. This provision brought many of his 48 children back home to pass the bill.
The democrats are irate at the republicans for using offsets in order to pass the CR, and the new section added another offset (albeit only $100 million). Many dems say this is unprecedented, but I can't confirm this for you.
The bottom line is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who was unhappy with HR 2608 before, is even less pleased with this new version and the word is the Senate democrats will not go along with it.
The Senate will convene Friday morning and start to work immediately on HR 2608. As we mentioned earlier, it is unlikely that congress will allow a lapse, especially in the light of FEMA running out of disaster funding.