We got some action! Perseverance pays off!
The Senate's Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee's Chairwoman, Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Ranking Member, Olympia Snowe (R-ME) joined my call for the NIH to effectively IGNORE the ARRA Stimulus Bill's SBIR Exclusion in a letter sent today to Charles Johnson, the Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the parent organization of the NIH.
The PR Newswire story about the letter can be viewed by clicking HERE.
The headline is:
of Small Business Innovation
to Economic Recovery
The subtitle is:
exemptions in economic recovery plan.
Quoting from the letter:
"The SBIR and STTR programs allow small research and development firms -- our nation's innovation lifeline -- to create high-quality jobs and cutting-edge products and therefore are fundamental to our country's economic recovery. Consequently, it is of great concern to us that the NIH maximize the benefits of the Recovery funding and provide not less than the statutory percentages of the Department's extramural research and development funding to the SBIR and STTR programs."
All I can say is THANK YOU Senators Landrieu and Snowe, and the rest of the Senate SBE Committee. I know for a fact that, due to the letters that many of us wrote, some of you also had a hand in this.
The HHS has until March 24th to respond to the Senate Committee in writing. Frankly, I don't think they need two weeks to decide to do the right thing. I sugest that we keep the pressure on the NIH to respond quickly and favorably.
Of course, March 24th is after the March 20th expiration date, so we MUST get that Continuing Resolution to make this really be other than a hollow promise.
UPDATE, March 11, 2009: Check out Rick Shindell's SBIR Insider Newsletter of this date. It provides some more information on activities concerning the Continuing Resolution, and some additional background on the NIH deal, including an actual copy of the Senate SBE letter.