Members of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee and the House Small Business, and Science and Technology Committees are meeting, yet again, to see if this time they can resolve the impasse of two very different SBIR reauthorization bills, (Senate S.1233 and House H.R.2965).
You will recall that Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, holds the very anti-small business view that VC-owned technology companies should be able to participate fully in SBIR/STTR competition. Amazingly, she has for the last two years, prohibited any testimony on behalf of small businesses in her committee and also on the floor of the House. In contrast, the Senate’s bill preserves most of the SBIR program for small company by capping participation of VC’s, a compromise that last year was agreeable to both the VC and small business lobbies. But the Velazquez would not budge from her position.
Will this year be different?
When the full House considered its SBIR reauthorization bill, Velazquez got the Rules Committee to prohibit consideration of a Edward Markey (D-MA)-led amendment that would have made the bill similar to the Senate version. She did this because it was widely expected that the Markey amendment was favored by most members of the House and would have passed.
Several House members, led by Markey, who disagree with the obstructionist Velazquez and do not like her bullying, are trying an end run around her by sending a letter to Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Chair of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, expressing their support for the Senate’s SBIR reauthorization bill. This letter represents an attempt to let the Senate conference committee members know that most Representatives disagree with Velazquez’s bill.
The more members of the House who sign the letter, the greater chance that the conference committee will approve S.1233 as the final version. You can help by emailing the Markey letter to your Representative and ask that s/he sign on this week. Time is of the essence since an acceptable compromise must be made by next Tuesday, July 28. While you are at it, ask your Rep to consider how they are going to explain to small businesses in their state why they voted against small businesses so that rich VC’s could have access to more Federal funds.
SBIR updates and links for contacting your Representatives and Senators can be found on www.SBIRreauthorization.com.
Recent columns by Steve Clark
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- Steven S. Clark: Slicing and dicing SBIR award data
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- Steven S. Clark: SBIR re-authorization update
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