Tuesday, March 2, 2010

SBIR Reauthorization compromise suggested -- but is it a ploy?

It works! Raising our voices slowed the attempt to smuggle the House version of SBIR Reauthorization into the Jobs Bill.

But they haven't given up. The train's going down a new track. And the new direction is so ironic: compromise with the Senate's version!

Representative Jason Altmire (D-PA) has sent out a new Dear Colleague letter. Here's the new part:

"As Congress crafts legislative packages to stimulate the economy and create jobs, American small businesses should be first and foremost on our minds. SBIR Reauthorizations passed the House and the Senate in 2009, but have yet to be reconciled and signed into law (H.R. 2965 and S.1233.) A compromise of these two bills to reauthorize SBIR would be an ideal job-creating addition to a jobs package."

Compromise? Really? The House has steadfastly refused to even discuss compromise for quite some time. Why should we believe that's what's intended now? All of a sudden. And the term "reconciled" got my attention too. Uh Oh.

Hmmm.... I seem to remember the Senate offered an SBIR reauthorization compromise almost six months ago. No one has seen it, and the House refused to even consider it. Why are they hiding it? Let's see it! It may actually be worth considering.

Compromise means that both sides have to give and get something. What's the House going to give? What's the Senate going to get?

And what's the darn hurry? We have until April 30th to get an SBIR Reauthorization compromise negotiated. WHY STUFF IT INTO THIS HURRY-UP BILL?

Think about it -- even if SBIR is reauthorized via this Jobs Bill will any new SBIR projects be funded (or jobs created) immediately? Of course not! That's not the way SBIR works. And, the new rules wouldn't even apply until FY2011.

Rick Shindell revealed the existence of the new Altmire letter today in his latest SBIR Insider letter. As Rick points out, this "compromise" suggestion is very likely just a ploy to get us to lay down our pens while they do sneak the House version on the Jobs Bill train.

I agree. It's a ploy. We'd be foolish to trust them.

So please keep the pressure on. Send another letter to your Congressman. Thanks to the NSBA there's an easy way to do it:
But make some edits in the template:

1. Let's use Altmire's language to our advantage. Insist that the suggested compromise discussion actually be held. There's even an existing Senate compromise that's waiting for examination. Let's do that.

2. Be sure to point out the ridiculous assumption that this initiative would create small business jobs immediately. Yes, it will spur small business job growth -- next year. We've got two months to do SBIR reauthorization right. No need to rush it through this week!

See www.SBIRreauthorization.com for guidance on how to contact your legislators and updates.

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