SBIR Reauthorization This Year? The University Elites (UEs) Say NO!
This being an election year, and a crazy one at that, there are perilously few legislative days left to get SBIR/STTR reauthorized this year. For the last two decades the SBIR reauthorization process would entail the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBE) to work with the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), to insert SBIR reauthorization language into the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). On the House side, the House Small Business Committee (HSBC) would do the same with the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). Oh yes, I left out the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (HSST), who usually played the role of SBIR obstructionist since they were pretty much controlled by the UEs, and generally frowned on the SBIR program (actually from its inception).
In spite of the fact that the SBE and HSBC both worked hard in bipartisan efforts for their own SBIR Reauthorization Bills (S.2812 and H.R. 4783 respectively), the University lobbyists were (and still are) busy exercising great power and influence to block efforts to insert this SBIR reauthorization language into the NDAA.
At this point, the train has left the station in the House because they have now passed their NDAA (H.R. 4909) void of any SBIR reauthorization language. This was largely because the UEs had their lobbyists and HSST committee chair press against insertion. The UEs and the HSST are demanding the process of “Regular Order”. As part of Regular Order, the HSST states they want to hold three hearings on SBIR in the future, preferably the distant future, then run the SBIR reauthorization process in “Regular Order”. That would put SBIR into the next congress where the UEs could eliminate or drastically reduce the SBIR program.
Let’s discuss Regular Order. That was the way congress used to work back when we had elected officials who did their job! For example, every year 12 appropriation bills needed to be passed to run the country. If we look at the past 5 years, (which would be 12 appropriation bills per year times 5 years) we have 60 appropriation bills that needed to be passed. You know how many they did pass? ONE! Do you know how many SBIR reauthorizations in the whole life of the program passed under Regular Order? ZERO! Don’t think the UEs and HSST don’t know that!