Government Contracting News: Continuing Resolution Likely to Keep Government Open – For Now

Written on November 25, 2019

At press time, Congress was poised to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government open until December 20th. That’s good news in that previously-started government projects can continue, but not as good as if Congress had passed any of the permanent FY’20 spending bills. The earliest that will happen now is in December, though contractors should expect that some of their government customers will likely not get appropriations until March or April. There is also the chance that some agencies may operate on a CR for the entire Fiscal Year.  Additionally, the time at which the CR runs out will likely coincide with a House vote on the impeachment of the President. That political angle adds considerable uncertainty to how, and if, any appropriations bill will be handled, including any new CR that would keep the government open until sometime in January. It is quite possible that there could be a temporary shutdown right before Christmas if political tensions are high enough. This uncertainty causes tension for contractors, as well as the government customers to whom they sell. The pace of business can slow considerably if your federal customer is distracted by having to participate in Continuity of Operations meetings, or the potential personal impact a shutdown could cause. The current level of uncertainty will continue at least until December 20th, and perhaps longer if there is no clear path forward for keeping the government open, or for providing appropriations money that will allow for new project starts.

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