To Shutdown or Not
It’s seven days until a partial shutdown of the U.S. government could occur. If Congress does not pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) or 12 appropriation bills, or the President vetoes legislation sent to him, then we could have a funding gap, something that has happened 18 times since Congress changed the fiscal year to a start date of October 1 in 1977. We all know why this happened.
The gap will start in Guam, “where America’s day starts,” 14 hours ahead of Washington time. So, by 10:00 a.m. on September 30, hopefully we know. A gap will impact more than two million government employees, with possibly one million being sent home and furloughed. No promise of pay when they return.
A funding gap can occur in one of two ways. Either Congress does not pass 12 bills or a CR to send to the President, or they do pass bills and send to the president, but he vetoes.
What can you do during a funding gap that does not violate the Antideficiency Act (ADA)? Agencies mostly continue their core missions. National security activities continue. Agencies support deployments and wars. Intelligence gathering continues, like satellite operations. No-year and multi-year contracts continue. The Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 (FASA), as it relates to severable services contracts, continues. Non-severable contracts continue, and much, much more.
Revolving fund activities, like working capital fund activities, continue as long as they have a checking account balance in their cash corpus. And, 31 USC 1342 permits activities essential to protection of life and property to continue.
Prior to October 1 of odd numbered years, agencies determine what activities continue and what activities are suspended under a funding gap. OMB reviewed those plans and had a meeting with agencies late Monday.
For more info on the rules associated with a potential funding gap, consult OMB Circular A-11, Section 124, Attorney General opinions in 1980 and 1981, Office of Legal Counsel opinion in 1995, and your agency plan.
Here’s to hoping for a CR on October 1.