Gov Careers

By Phil Piemonte

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Continuing resolutions, or 'Buddy, can you spare a dime?'

Now that we’ve nearly lost count of how many continuing resolutions Congress has passed this fiscal year (the answer: six, although it feels like about a million), here’s a question for you: How much has this congressional cat-and-mouse game affected your department or agency?

We ask this question because — although a continuing resolution may pay the bills — funding the government for a couple of weeks is far different than funding the government for a year.

Living paycheck to paycheck is one obvious analogy. While we’re talking about the federal government here rather than an individual, the principle is the same. Anyone who’s lived paycheck to paycheck knows that it’s murder on long-term planning. You simply don’t lay many plans, especially if you’re not sure the next paycheck will be there or if you’re not certain how much the check will be for. And it’s kind of hard to keep your mind on business when every few weeks you’re spending down to your last dime.

We’ve seen news items about some of the consequences of these continual CRs upstairs where the big decisions are made: Hiring being postponed, programs being back-burnered, etc.

But we’re wondering about the nuts-and-bolts effect further downstream, in the trenches. How is it affecting you (beyond morale, that is) where you sit? Or is it?

Any anecdotes to share?


Posted by Phil Piemonte on Mar 29, 2011 at 12:13 PM


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