OMB tells agencies to prepare for possible shutdown

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In the unlikely event that any agency leaders had forgotten that funding runs out on Sept. 30, a new memo from Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell offers a reminder -- and urges them to update their contingency plans.

The Sept. 17 memo, carrying the subject line of "Planning for Agency Operations during a Potential Lapse in Appropriations," notes that there is still time for Congress to provide funding for Oct. 1 and beyond.  "However," Burwell writes, "prudent management requires that agencies be prepared for the possibility of a lapse."

The memo refers agency leaders to the relevant legal guidelines for determining what functions are critical enough to continue during a shutdown. An attached FAQ covers questions on contracts and vendor payments, basic IT operations, employee travel and the keys to an "orderly shutdown."

Agency leaders with unanswered questions are instructed to contact Joseph Jordan, OMB's administrator for federal procurement policy, or OMB General Counsel Geovette Washington, OMB's General Counsel.

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is editor-in-chief of FCW and GCN.

Prior to joining 1105 Media in 2012, Schneider was the New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company. The founding editor of NationalJournal.com, Schneider also helped launch the political site PoliticsNow.com in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, WashingtonPost.com, Slate, Politico, National Journal, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.

Click here for previous articles by Schneider, or connect with him on Twitter: @troyschneider.

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Reader comments

Thu, Sep 19, 2013

Two Words: Term Limits!! When will the average American be heard? It is high time for our "leaders" to be held to the same standards as everyone else!

Thu, Sep 19, 2013 Peter

I continue to think also, that many of these issues with budgeting can easily be solved by more self-funding of the agencies. FAA, Park Service, NOAA, SEC, etc.....change the regs so they can charge the appropriate fees to cover cost of operations, R&D, etc. Needs the appropriate oversight of course but I'd bet that the GAO can easily be embedded to provide the accounting bits needed.

Thu, Sep 19, 2013

Explain to me again please, exactly WHY the financial welfare of the average Federal employee is being put in jeopardy here?? We don't control this budget process. We just carry out what we are told to do. If the President and Congress (who DO control the process) can't hammer out a deal, why are either of THEM getting paid? Maligned Federal employees have to negotiate on a daily basis with the public. Would you like us to show you how it's done?

Thu, Sep 19, 2013 Jay

What a great way for Congress to honor the Patriots that died at the Navy Yard. All the civilian DoD employees who were killed just got off furlough, because of Congressional disfunction. DoD employees are humiliated, vilified and demonized by Congress and the general public....lazy, overpaid, too many benefits. Shame on our leaders in DC, on both sides of the aisle as well as the citizens that are quick to dump on Federal Employees.

Thu, Sep 19, 2013

Could Americans hold a no-confidence vote on the Administration? I think it would be "NO" confidence at all.

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