For Congress to pass a bill involving hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars only takes a week or two. So we will now see if a bill to reauthorize the SBIR program which commits a little over two billion dollars can get passed in four months. Any bets?
The key issue which held up SBIR reauthorization last year was a disagreement between the House and the Senate over whether the program should be changed to allow participation by companies that are majority owned by venture capitalist and also whether SBIR be more in line with VC funding needs. (See May and June 2008 postings in this blog for details.) These major changes in the SBIR program were pushed through the House without input from most Representatives who may not have understood what they were voting on.
A letter urging retention of the current small business eligibility requirements is being circulated in the House of Representatives for member signatures addressed to the Chair of the House Committee on Small Business. If you agree with this position, you could contact your U.S. Representative and urge him to sign this letter. Congressional email addresses are located at http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/gacongressdelegation.htm.
To have your Representatives add their name to the list of cosigners, ask them to contact Mitchell Robinson with Rep Ed Markey's office at (202) 225-2836, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Kate Lynch with Rep. Niki Tsongas' office at (202) 225-3411, email@example.com.