This month’s newsletter includes news from the firm, legislative updates, funding announcements from several agencies, and SMI’s recognition as a top 20 standout firm.
SMI Welcomes Evan Dorner as Director
Washington, D.C.- May 24, 2022 – SMI is pleased to announce that Evan Dorner has joined the firm as a Director, where he will bolster our life sciences practice area. Evan is a former senior Congressional staffer and most recently, Director of Federal Government Relations at California Life Sciences.
“Evan is an accomplished life sciences advocate who understands how the legislative and regulatory processes can make a real difference in advancing lifesaving treatments and technologies,” said Bill McCann, SMI’s President. “In addition, Evan understands how to use the appropriations process to provide research and clinical funding. He’s a tremendous addition to the SMI life sciences team.”
At California Life Sciences, Evan advocated at the Federal level for California’s innovative life sciences sector including biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostics companies, venture capital firms, research universities and institutes, as well as the sector’s nearly 350,000 California employees. Prior to his time at California Life Sciences, Evan served as a Senior Legislative Assistant to Congressman Pete Aguilar (CA-31), a member of the House Appropriations Committee (HAC), where he led on health care, education, labor, agriculture, financial services, legislative branch issues, as well as the Committee on House Administration. Evan began his career working on Congressman Aguilar’s 2014 election campaign as a Finance Assistant.
Evan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Gonzaga University.
What’s Going on in Congress? | FY23 Markups, COMPETES and USICA Conference, and Ukrainian Supplemental Funding
HASC and SASC Release FY23 NDAA Markup Schedules
Over the past two weeks, House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders have released their respective schedules for markups of the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). See both markup schedules below:
Conference Committee on COMPETES/USICA Holds First Meeting
On May 12, the Conference Committee on Bipartisan Innovation & Competition Legislation convened for its first meeting. The 107 conferees, appointed by House and Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle, are tasked with resolving differences between the House chamber’s COMPETES legislation passed in February 2022 by a partisan vote and the Senate’s USICA legislation that received bipartisan support in June 2021. Chaired by Senator Maria Cantwell (WA), the four-hour meeting delved into the massive spending package. Each conferee was granted two minutes of opening remarks.
The conferees expressed strong bipartisan support for the $52 billion CHIPs act (present in both versions of the bill), funding for National Science Foundation critical technology innovation programs, and a broad consensus on the need to bolster domestic supply chains. Additionally, a bipartisan group of House and Senate members announced plans for the insertion of a tax credit to further incentivize domestic semiconductor manufacturing. However, House and Senate Republicans noted their opposition to COMPETES climate and clean energy provisions, including an $8 billion contribution to the U.N. Green Climate Fund. Republicans in both chambers also criticized both COMPETES and USICA for weak stances against Chinese competition and excessive government spending in the wake of inflation. Both versions of the bill come with hefty price tags—COMPETES at $350 billion and $250 billion for USICA.
A timeline for the conference has been agreed upon between the House and Senate, with leadership hoping to finalize a conference report by a target date of June 21st. A more detailed look at the conference schedule for June is available here.
For a full list of conferees, click here.
Additional Ukrainian Aid on the Way
Earlier this month, Congress passed an additional $40.1 billion Ukrainian supplemental aid package in response to the continued conflict in Ukraine after Russia invaded in late February. This comes on the wake of Congress’s initial $13.6 billion designated for Ukrainian aid, appropriated in the FY22 budget. It will provide further defense equipment, migration and refugee assistance, regulatory and technical support regarding nuclear power issues, emergency food assistance, economic assistance, and property seizures related to the invasion.
Roughly 40% of the funds ($15.3 billion) will go towards defense for increasing critical munitions stocks and supplying the Ukrainian government with the tools they need to continue their defense. About $6 billion has been appropriated for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and the remaining $9.05 billion will go towards various procurement, operations and maintenance, and research and development programs. Additionally, $600 million of that is being designated for Defense Production Act purchases, which will target batteries and critical materials ($500 million) and missile production ($100 million). For a greater breakdown of the spending, please view the link below for the full bill text.
For the bill text click here.
DoD Releases FY23 Request Justification Books
April and May saw the staggered release of Department of Defense justification books for Army, Navy, Air Force and Defense-Wide FY23 budget requests.
“This $773 billion budget request reinforces our commitment to the concept of integrated deterrence, allows us to better sequence and conduct operations around the globe that are aligned to our priorities, modernizes the Joint Force, and delivers meaningful support for our dedicated workforce and their families,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III of the President’s FY23 budget.
Defense R&D and procurement funding for FY23 and beyond aligns with recent defense modernization priorities and seeks to accelerate the Research to Operation (R2O) process to bring lethality enabling technologies to the warfighter as quickly as possible. The budget request boasts an $800 million increase in funding for laboratory and testing facilities and boosts funding for testing and development of critical platforms like the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM) and Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LHRW). See below for detailed breakdowns of requested funding for three critical budget areas:
President Biden Moving Forward with Additive Manufacturing
On May 6, President Biden announced the launch of AM (Additive Manufacturing) Forward. AM Forward is a voluntary compact between large manufacturers currently including GE Aviation, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Siemens Energy and their smaller U.S.-based suppliers. These leading manufacturers will support their U.S.-based suppliers’ adoption of new additive manufacturing capabilities, and the administration anticipates providing federal support through financing, technical assistance, workforce training, and standards development.
However, AM Forward’s process and procedures are still being fine-tuned by Applied Science & Technology Research Organization (ASTRO America) in conjunction with the federal government and input from OEM’s. Currently, ASTRO is leading to help to identify small and medium manufacturers, develop workforce training programs, provide technical assistance, and set quality certification for these small and medium manufacturers. A standardized quality certification/verification process has not been established for these small/medium companies partly because of the wide range of standards among OEM’s. Nevertheless, ASTRO intends to work with standardization groups like America Makes to identify an industry standard.
The current timeline:
- In 30 days: ASTRO will have a better-defined process
- In 60 days: ASTRO will host a workshop on financing small and medium companies
In 90 days: ASTRO will update the White House on their progress
Navy Releases Climate Action 2030 Plan
On May 24, the Department of the Navy released its Climate Action 2030 plan. The plan details the ways in which the Navy is seeking to build a climate-ready force, specifically through meeting two performance goals; building climate resilience and reducing climate threat. The Navy is committed to meeting the nation’s commitment of net-zero emissions by 2050. The plan highlights the Navy’s move to more efficient energy sources as well as innovation in propulsion efficiencies and hybridization in partnership with the Departments of Energy and Agriculture. The service’s research on batteries, which it leads with the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries alongside the Departments of State, Energy, and Commerce, is also highlighted. They also plan to align with the other services in acquiring 100 percent zero-emission vehicles by 2035 and achieving a 65 percent reduction in scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions department-wide by 2030 (measured from a 2008 baseline).
The plan acknowledges that energy usage by the Navy’s operational platforms (primarily ships and aircraft) accounts for the vast majority of their emissions, and these platforms are also the most difficult to decarbonize on a meaningful scale. The Navy will continue to optimize its force through hybridization, electrification, alternative lower-carbon fuels, and advanced propulsion systems for both existing and future tactical platforms in all domains—sea, air, and ground.
Spring 2022 DoD SBIR Topic Release
On May 18, the Department of Defense released a batch Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program topics for proposal submittals that are due June 15. A total of 116 topics were released with topics ranging from conformal exoskeletons for paratroopers to star trackers for satellite and nuclear applications. The full list of the most recent batch of DoD SBIR topics can be found here.
DOE’s EERE Office Releases More Funding Opportunities in Infrastructure Bill Rollout
The Biden administration’s historic Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), provided a total of $62 billion to the Department of Energy for investments in clean energy technology, infrastructure, and workforce development. All DOE EERE Notices of Intent, Requests for Information and Funding Opportunity Announcements can be found at eere-exchange.energy.gov.
Domestic Battery Production
As part of the Biden administration’s investments in clean energy through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) under the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) released two funding solicitations on May 2 intended to catalyze domestic battery production. Teaming Partner Lists and amendments have also been made since the FOAs’ original release:
DE-FOA-0002680: Battery Recycling and Second Life Applications
Paper Due May 31 at 5PM (ET)
Full Application Due July 19 at 5PM (ET)
Total Investment: $60M
Anticipated Award Size: $4-$12M
Number of Awards: 5-10
Selections expected in October
DE-FOA-0002678: Battery Materials Processing and Battery Manufacturing
Letter of Intent Due May 27 at 5 PM (ET)
Full Application Due July 1 at 5PM (ET)
Total Investment: $3.1B
Anticipated Award Size: $50-$400M
Number of Awards: 17-34
Selections expected in October
These solicitations include extensive guidance on new Biden-era Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Buy America requirements with full applications requiring an extensive DEI plan—DOE officials noted that future funding opportunities will use the same solicitation framework to abide by these new standards. To assist federal funding recipients in the development of a robust DEI plan, the Biden administration continues further development of its online Environmental Justice Screening Tool (accessible here).
Energy Storage Technology
On May 12, the DOE EERE Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) released an RFI relating to a $500 million BIL investment in advanced energy storage technologies. The goal of this investment is to develop a grid-scale, long duration energy storage project with wide commercial deployment capabilities. The DOE is requesting input on the following subject areas:
Category 1: BIL 41001 Energy Storage Program-Specific Requirements and Implementation Strategy
Category 2: BIL 41001 Energy Storage Program Crosscutting Topics
Category 3: Employment: Expanding Union Jobs and Effective Workforce Development
Category 4: Equity, Environmental and Energy Justice (EEEJ) Priorities
Category 5: Additional Input
Responses to this RFI are due on June 16, 2022 and should not exceed 20 pages in length. The RFI can be found here.
SMI Recognized by Bloomberg Government as a Top 20 Standout Lobbying Firm in 2021
In Bloomberg Government’s annual Top-Performing Lobbying Firms report, SMI was recognized as both a top-performing firm and one of the top 20 standout firms of 2021 based on our revenue growth, growth in average revenue per client, client retention, and revenue per lobbyist. With roughly 120 retained clients, our dedicated team looks to continue the same hard work that earned this recognition through 2022.
“It is always nice to be recognized as a top performing company within your own industry. Among the metrics used, I’m particularly proud that SMI scored high on client retention. SMI is focused on providing services that our clients value, whether that means securing funding or shaping policy. When we succeed for our clients, our clients tend to stay with us for many years. We appreciate the public recognition, but what we really value is playing a small part in our clients’ successful technology commercialization efforts and other contributions to national security, clean energy and public health,” said SMI President Bill McCann.