Friday, April 24, 2009

House begins deliberations on SBIR Reauthorization

The House of Representatives began deliberations this week on reauthorizing SBIR. Two House Committees held hearings.

The Small Business Committee met on Wednesday. They actually did allow a few small businesses to testify. (Press Release, Written Testimony, Video of Hearing)

Jere Glover testified yesterday at the Science and Technology (S&T) Committee's Technology and Innovation (T&I) Subcommittee hearing. (Press Release, Written Testimony, Video of Hearing - coming soon)

I talked to Jere yesterday after his testimony. He said that, by and large, the hearings went well. We're being included in discussions invited to testify for the first time in two years, and that's progress.

There's a new letter from S&T/T&I Subcommittee Chairman David Wu (D-OR) rumored to be circulating countering our Dear Colleague letter to Chairwoman Velazquez and promoting reintroducing of H.R.5819 support of provisions similar to what were in H.R.5819. After the hearing, Chairman Wu admitted that he learned some new facts and probably would change his stance on that. I certainly hope that hearing all sides of the story will prompt him to change his stance on that.

[Curious about the strikeouts? -- Sorry, Chairman Wu. Didn't mean to misquote you. -- See the Comments...]

When I visited some congressional offices on the Hill earlier this year, I saw a booklet available in every office: "How Our Laws Are Made". I leafed through it and laughingly said that there should be a subtitle: "Like a Visit to the Sausage Factory -- you really don't want to know!"

The process is ponderous, with lots of rules that permit strange shenanigans and partisan interests to get their way. We must be cognizant of how things work, and play the game smartly. Being persistent and factual (always providing references) is the way we'll get our message through. The staffers are the key. Educate them and they'll advise their bosses.

Jere promises that the SBTC website will have some new information up in a few days. I'm sure Rick Shindell's Insider will provide some insight soon.

I'll have some more analysis of all of this in a few days, and some recommendations on strategy, but I wanted everyone to have a good source of facts on what's going on. Your comments are always welcome.


Jere Glover said...

Fred, I just wanted to clarify the comments on the hearing yesterday. Chairman Wu did comment on the record that he had recently been hearing arguments from Small Business that he had not heard before. He did not express any conclusions on the arguments that I and others have made, but he seemed willing to listen. I also want to note that on several occasions in the last two years, Chairman Wu and his staff have met with other SBTC members and other SBIR companies. I very much appreciate the willingness of the Chairman to hear both sides and appreciate his offer to work towards a solution to the problem.

- Fred Patterson - said...

Thanks for that clarification, Jere. I stand corrected. I meant to say that the small business advocacy had been invited to testify at official hearings concerning SBIR for the first time in two years. (Now if we can only get Nydia Velazquez's Commmittee to invite you too!)

And, I really didn't mean to speak for Chairman Wu, but rather to express the hope that he might change his mind.

I have made appropriate edits in the Blog column, and hereby officially apologize to the Congressman.

I also now know better than to try and be coherent at 4AM! (I was traveling and had a 5AM airport shuttle to catch!)