We did it! Hundreds of calls and letters produced an overwhelming level of bipartisan peer pressure that even the most stubborn Committee Chair couldn't stand up against.
A special issue of Rick Shindell's Insider, written from the scene of the almost crime, reports on some of the details:
HOUSE PASSES SBIR/STTR/CPP EXTENSION THROUGH JANUARY 31, 2011
Borrowing the title of a song from My Fair Lady, "You Did It!" There was thunder on Capitol Hill today as hundreds of you responded to an emergency call to action (from many people and organizations) to save the SBIR program from lapsing, and that you did it!
Around 7:00pm this evening, Nydia Velazquez under pressure from her peers and the House leadership, accepted the Senate's SBIR and SBA extender bill, she and moved to suspend the rules to pass S.3839 without amendments. That has now happened and the SBIR program will be extended through January 31, 2011, pending signature of the President (virtually automatic), who supports the bill.
This is the 9th continuing resolution for SBIR, which in and of itself is an outrage, but perhaps Velazquez & Day are now wounded and certainly embarrassed, having been rolled over by the House leadership twice in as many weeks. The Senate has worked strenuously in bipartisan fashion to construct a compromise that Nydia & Day would accept, but they showed little interest.
We will provide a postmortem of this escapade in a future issue to show how close we came to a programmatic lapse. Your voices played a major role in getting the support to overrule Velazquez.
Nowhere were the cries for passing S.3839 stronger than from the great state of Massachusetts. Not only are they the second largest SBIR award winning state, but also the most organized. To that end, two of their congressionals played major roles in this victory, Ed Markey (D-MA) and Niki Tsongas (D-MA). Tsongas wrote a powerful "Dear Colleague" letter (signed by supporters) that truly made a difference. There are many more heros and we'll cover that next week.
So, we can stop holding our collective breath for a little while, but there's much to do. Rick continues:
This fight is far from over, but the tide is turning. The big challenge for you is to get out and educate the candidates running for election. Do it not only for the candidate of your choice, but to the opposition as well. Attend their rallies, talk to their staff, and to the press. Undoubtedly there will be many new freshman congressmen and senators coming in to the next congress and you'll want them to know about the importance of the SBIR/STTR programs to your business and the economy. Also, step up to the plate and publicly thank those who have supported your programs, and don't be afraid to criticize those who didn't.
So thanks to all of you who jumped on this and turned around the hostage situation with a favorable outcome.
Jere Glover's Small Business Technology Council (SBTC) has promised to provide some good educational information for us to use in this educational effort. I urge you to please join the SBTC and help support Jere and the others who volunteer their time for SBIR advocacy. If you're an SBIR supporter, it's the right thing to do.