Dear SBIR Insider,
As promised, here's the progress on the continuation of SBIR/STTR/CPP, and it's looking stronger for the short term.
In this issue:
Progress on a Government-Wide Continuing Resolution (CR) including SBIR
Early this evening, Sept 26, 2011, the Senate worked out a couple of compromises and overwhelmingly passed (79 / 12) a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government open and funded through November 18, 2011. This includes SBIR/STTR/CPP. Once again this came in the form of a new amendment to HR. 2806.
This strong bipartisan Senate action increases, but does not guarantee, the likelihood of passage in the House. Right now it's about a 85% chance everything will go through but Speaker Boehner is playing his cards close to the vest.
There is another wrinkle in that the House doesn't return from recess until Oct 4, and the lapse would start Oct 1. The Senate has a reasonable solution to that problem and that is expected to pass in pro forma session keeping everything going until October 4, when the House returns to full session.
We should know the outcome of the October 4 extension by Thursday, September 29, and the November 18 extension sometime Tuesday, October 4.
For Political Junkies Only – The Story Behind the Headlines
Earlier this evening Senator Reid was unsuccessful in his attempt to pass
HR. 2806 [we meant HR. 2608] with a new amendment (656) he wrote, which would provide a CR through November 18, but strip the offsets that House republicans demanded and passed in their version of the bill. Reid was unsuccessful in invoking cloture to close debate and vote on the bill, so he withdrew the amendment.
He then offered up another amendment (665) which no longer had to address additional FY-11 funding for FEMA because FEMA stated today that they could make it on what they have thorough the end of the month/FY-11. This amendment was similar to 656 but allowed the FEMA funding section to be removed, which also eliminated the need for offsets that the House republicans demanded. We were looking at a much cleaner bill whose overall numbers had been agreed to previously. SBIR/STTR/CPP remained in tact.
Now the complications come into play.
The Problem: Funding and authorization expires Friday night, September 30. The House is in recess until October 4, and Speaker Boehner will not call his members back to DC early.
The Rationale: Although the House is in recess, it could be reconvened in "pro forma" status to pass something by Unanimous Consent (UC) without calling all the representatives back into session. The Senate knew that Boehner would not permit a 6 week extension to be passed by UC, but he might be amenable for something to keep the government open through the weekend until his "children" returned to work on October 4 and vote on the CR through November 18.
The Solution: Senate Majority Leader Reid needed to hijack another bill for a vehicle to address the time period of October 1 through October 4. He found the victim bill in HR 2017 (Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2012) which was amended by 666 (an interesting number for an amendment), which struck the original language of the bill and replaced it with verbiage identical to 656 with the exception of the termination date of October 4. This bill passed tonight by voice vote.
The bottom line: Although one would think we've seen enough compromising to keep the government open for 6 weeks, don't discount the animosity between these two bodies, not to mention the two and a half parties.