OMB: In Government Shutdown Most Grant Processes Would Stop

April 8, 2011 | By Liza Casabona | Post a Comment

An agreement could still be reached to avert a  government shutdown, but federal agencies and workers are preparing for the worst.

The White House has already sent the Office of Management and Budget its contingency shutdown plan outlining how many staffers will be considered essential in the Executive Branch and OMB released its own guidance yesterday with frequently asked questions and some technical guidance particularly relevant for the grants and government contracting communities.

According to OMB, for grants that have already been awarded, if there is a lapse in appropriations (i.e., the current CR expires without there being a budget to replace it):

“the performance — by contracting officers, contracting officer technical representatives, contract administration personnel and grants management specialists — of routine oversight, inspection, accounting, administration, payment processing and other contracting or grant management activity would generally not continue.”

In other words, with a few very limited exceptions, grants processes will stop for many programs in the event of a shutdown. No new grants will be implemented during a shutdown, but organizations that have already received their funds may continue to operate. However, OMB cautions that organizations may want to reconsider what grant activity should be performed when there is an “absence of available federal employee oversight.”

The guidance is complicated, if you’re the recipient of federal funds you might want to consult the detailed Q&A that appears in OMB’s memorandum from Thursday.

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