Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Final SBIR Strategy Set - Urgent Action Needed

We're in the bottom of the Ninth. Score is tied. Wall Street (House Team) 1, Main Street (Senate Team) 1.

There's very little sentiment to send this to extra innings, and we don't want the whole game to be called off.

Fellow SBIR Advocist Les Bowen presents the strategy to break the tie and win the game for Main Street:


Dear SBIR Advocates:

Click HERE: (SBIR_Conferee_Letter.pdf) to see the letter that will be sent from House Representatives to Senator Landrieu, Chair of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, expressing their support for S. 1233, the Senate SBIR Reauthorization Bill.

We need about fifty House Representatives to sign on in order to swing the SBIR House/Senate conference deliberations to support the Senate bill.

As you know, the Senate SBIR reauthorization bill, unlike its House counterpart, H.R. 2965, preserves most of the SBIR program for genuinely small businesses like ours, while the House bill sells out the SBIR program to large venture capital-controlled businesses. You will recall that several House representatives, including those who have already signed on to this letter, proposed amendments to H.R. 2965 that would have made it less onerous to small businesses, but this amendment was shot down by the House Rules Committee. We believe the reason was that your prior outreach efforts to your House representatives caused widespread consternation in the House that the Markey/Tsongas/Hodes/Welch amendment would pass, much to the consternation of the VC-lobby that has taken over the House SBIR reauthorization process.

By signing onto this letter, your representatives get a second bite of that apple. Their signature supporting the Senate bill gives much better insight into what most House representatives really felt about House bill H.R. 2965 and its bad consequences for true small businesses. It provides Senator Landrieu and the Senate conference committee delegates with much-needed leverage to achieve a compromise SBIR reauthorization bill that is more like S. 1233 than its House counterpart. We need SBIR to remain a program that works for innovative, independently-owned small businesses like ours, rather than becoming a bail-out fund for well-heeled venture-capitalists.

You do need to take action today. These negotiations will be over early next week. Your representative has already received a copy of this letter. Please call your House representative’s small business staffer, email the letter and ask him or her to bring it to their boss’ attention and get them to sign on this week.

Thank you for this last effort in support of the 2009 SBIR reauthorization.

We will keep you posted as information emerges from conference.

Leslie J. Bowen, President
Materials Systems Inc.


The SBTC's Jere Glover adds this suggestion, which was provided by another ardent supporter:

I ask that you urge your Congressional Representative to sign onto the Markey letter today. (Next week will be too late.) I also ask that you ask him or her to personally contact members of the House Small Business and Science Committees and ask them to consider how they are going to explain to small businesses in their state why they voted to kill jobs on Main Street so more Wall Street billionaires could have access to more Federal funds.
Here's a Dear Colleague letter sent to all Members of the House of Representatives by Rep. Niki Tsongas and others: Tsongas Dear Colleague Letter.pdf. Get your Representatives to sign onto this letter! They can do that by contacting Mitch Robinson (Rep. Markey) at 5-2836 or, or Kate Lynch (Rep. Tsongas) at 5-4311 or

If you'd like to write your own letter to make a point, and would like some talking points, here's a letter from the SBTC to Senator Landrieu: SBTC Letter to Sen Landrieu.doc

Updates to all of this and links for contacting your Representatives and Senators can be found on

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