OMB releases guidance memo amid looming threat of government shutdown

The Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday issued a memorandum to heads of executive departments, advising them on how to prepare for a possible government shutdown.

The fiscal year ends Sept. 30, and without a budget agreement before then, the government could face a shutdown.

The memo from OMB Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell urges agencies to take prudent management measures in the event of a possible lapse in funding should Congress fail to come to an agreement.

“The administration strongly believes that a lapse in appropriations should not occur,” said OMB spokesman Steve Posner. “There is enough time for Congress to prevent a lapse in appropriations, and the administration is willing to work with Congress to enact a short-term continuing resolution to fund critical government operations and allow Congress the time to complete the full year 2014 appropriations.”


With that in mind, the memo advises agencies to update their plans for operations in the case of absent appropriations.

Unless agencies have outside funding source that would continue despite a lapse of appropriations, all activities not legally required of the agencies should cease to be performed. Agency leaders should also examine standards for which employees are deemed necessary to perform the legally required functions, according to the memo.

OMB has provided an FAQ sheet as a resource for agencies with further questions that relate to government operations, travel, technology, payment for excepted work and orderly shutdown. In the event inquiries with personnel or staffing issues, the Office of Personnel Management has also released an FAQ resource.

According to Posner, these planning measures for agencies are consistent with what was done in previous instances when a potential lapse in appropriations was approaching.

“It is our hope that this work will ultimately be unnecessary and that there will be no lapse in appropriations,” he said.

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