Friday, September 5, 2008

FLASH: SBIR given reprieve to March 2009

I had intended to continue discussion of the goings on at the "Beyond Phase II" SBIR technology commercialization conference I attended this week (see yesterday's post), but that will have to wait until another day, as I want to tell you about the behind-the-scenes action that apparently has given the SBIR Program a temporary reprieve until March 20, 2009.

According to Rick Shindell of The SBIR Gateway in his SBIR Insider report dated today (9/05/08): "Earlier this year, Senate Small Business Committee Chair, John Kerry (D-MA) wrote a short bill, S.3029, 'To provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, and for other purposes.' It was cosponsored by his ranking member, Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and was passed in the Senate by Unanimous Consent on May 15, and by voice vote in the House on May 20. President Bush signed the bill into Public Law 10-235 on May 23, 2008. Its potential applicability to SBIR was kept low keyed in order to not interfere with reauthorization efforts that were underway in both the House and Senate. "

While not mentioning the SBIR program by name, this bill is interpreted by most legal eagles in the Government as applying to the SBIR situation, and steps have been taken to make sure that all of the participating agencies recognize the application of this law to SBIR and do not shut down their programs at the end of this month.

So, the SBIR reauthorization fight is temporarily delayed for a while, but it will be rejoined in the Spring, and there will be a lot of work to do to reconcile the differences of opinion that exist between the House and the Senate. You can bet that the The SBIR Coach will be in the middle of the fray!

Keep your pencils sharpened [talk about an out-of-date metaphor!] as, when the debate resumes, we'll be writing letters to our elected officials in the new Congress to encourage them to do the right thing for SBIR. Stay tuned for further developments, and thank you for your support.

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