Wondering Where We’d Be Without All the Distractions

July 27, 2011 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

About every guy I know has it happen every so often. He’s discussing important business details with a buddy, mind focused on the key points he intends to make. Then an attractive female walks by, he pauses to glance, and next thing you know he’s asking himself, “Now, what was I talking about?” This distraction (albeit in this case a pleasant one) succeeded in leading him off course. This year seems like the year of distractions for grants management thanks to our elected officials in Washington.

First, as we have well-chronicled on the blog, the Office of Management and Budget was two months late issuing the OMB Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement. Its reason for the delay: having to prioritize other duties in light of a potential government shutdown (which was eventually avoided). If not for the political bickering back in March and April, Congress and the White House probably could have reached agreement much sooner so that the OMB could get back to the business at hand and release the supplement in a timely manner and better assist auditors. We’ll call this Distraction No. 1.

Then, just as things were starting to really pick up in the grants management area with the introduction of the DATA Act and President Obama’s executive order as part of his Campaign to Cut Waste, each of which would have a critical impact on grants reporting and oversight for all grantees, we now face Distraction No. 2 — the fight over the debt ceiling. Now that Congress and the White House are focusing solely on this for a while, these grants management measures of great interest to all grantees will have to take a back seat.

Granted, the federal budget and its dire situation should be front and center, especially before Congress enters its August recess. But after weeks and weeks of hearing the same political babbling from both sides, the time is now to reach an agreement, move forward and get on with our lives. These aren’t pleasant distractions, and it’s only a matter of time before another one comes passing along.

Are you frustrated with the debt ceiling bickering as well? What are your concerns how this may affect the grants community?

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