A Two-Month Reprieve, Then a Tense Wait

October 1, 2012 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

This past weekend originally was supposed to be the deadline for federal agencies to submit waiver requests to the Office of Management and Budget for extended American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding after September 2013. In case you missed an earlier blog post from last month, the deadline has been extended two months.

Because of the importance of this action, I think the topic bears repeating.

In September 2011, OMB issued Memorandum 11-34, which directed federal agencies to accelerate the spending of remaining Recovery Act funds and reclaim all unspent funds as of Sept. 30, 2013. Some agencies, however, had Recovery Act grant programs that had extended beyond September 2013. A waiver provision in the OMB memorandum allows federal agencies to request a waiver under certain circumstances, including situations where contractual commitments prevent adjusting the spending timeline, where a project must undergo a complex environmental review that cannot be completed within the timeframe, or where programs are long term by design.

Although the memorandum required agencies to submit their waiver requests by Sept. 30, 2012, the deadline was recently extended to Nov. 30. For the agencies and programs that are relying on the extension of this funding, these waivers are crucial. It will be interesting to see if OMB will take a strict, narrow approach to approving these waivers, or if it will be more agreeable to the extensions.

Keep in mind, however, that the Nov. 30 date is not the date in which OMB will approve a final list of extensions, it is merely the deadline date for extension requests. The really tense part will come after Nov. 30 as agencies and grantees wait to see which programs will be approved for an extension. Expect some high drama around Christmas time and stay tuned.

Do you have a Recovery Act program seeking an extension from OMB? Let us know your experiences.  




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