Before passing 368-43 a bill to reauthorize a pair of federal small business assistance programs, the House Wednesday removed provisions that would have diverted $650 million per year from the research budgets of the Defense and Energy departments, National Institutes of Health and other agencies.
The change, accomplished by Small Business Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez’ acceptance of an amendment from Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich., to strike those increases from the bill, addressed White House objections to taking funds from other departments.
A Statement of Administration Policy said the administration “strongly opposes” the bill, which it said goes too far in relaxing constraints on venture capital ownership of firms receiving SBIR and STTR monies.
“The administration strongly opposes reducing funds available for priority agency research activities at universities and federal laboratories in order to provide subsidies for business development,” the SAP said.
During debate, Ehlers said the proposed increases “seem totally out of line” and that the bill was put forward “without full thought.”
He said he believes fully funding the America Competes Act, signed into law last year, would increase the pool of funding available to the programs.
This article appears in the April 26, 2008, edition of NJ Daily.