OMB Goes “Hurry-Up” with Recovery Act

September 21, 2011 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

We’re now entering fall and to me, that means one thing — football! Fans nationwide will spend countless hours rooting on their favorite team, cheering the touchdowns and cringing over critical turnovers. Some teams, in an attempt to wear out the other team’s defense and create general confusion among the opponents, will use a “hurry-up offense,” whereby they’ll run a number of plays consecutively without a huddle to move the ball down the field quickly. Go, go, go; hurry, hurry, hurry!

I bring up this football term because this is an apt analogy for the Office of Management and Budget’s Sept. 15 memorandum to federal agencies to accelerate the spending of remaining American Recovery and Reinvestment Act discretionary funding. Although about 85 percent of Recovery Act funds have now been paid out and most of the remaining funds have been obligated, billions of discretionary Recovery Act dollars have not yet been outlayed. The OMB is urging agencies to establish aggressive targets for outlaying the remaining funds. It also is directing agencies to complete Recovery Act projects by Sept. 30, 2013.

The memorandum does enable waivers for long-term grant programs, which agencies must submit to OMB for approval by September 2012. The OMB called for agencies to “clearly communicate” the memorandum’s requirements to grantees by adding the requirements to new grant agreements, modifying terms and conditions of existing grant agreements, or by other means consistent with the Recovery Act.

Agencies providing Recovery Act grants no longer have time to huddle. The time to outlay the remaining Recovery Act funds is now. Jobs are on the line. Hustle, hustle, hustle! I love this time of year!

Do you think agencies can easily accelerate spending of these funds? What do you think about the timeline? In your opinion, has the Recovery Act scored a touchdown, or has the Obama administration fumbled the ball on this one? Let us know.

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