During a Continuing Resolution, particularly the current CR that goes from 1 October until 27 March, can a BOS severable contract that normally is obligated from 1 December thru the following 30 November be obligated in its entirety, or must it be only signed to run from 1 December thru 27 March? We actually have one coming up for renewal on 1 March, and it normally goes from 1 March until the following 30 April. Can we obligate the contract for 12 months under the CR of only from 1 March to 27 March? Our CR funding authority has enough funding, but do we have a right to obligate the government beyond the CR period?
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It's important to distinguish between obligation period and period of performance. Government funds may need to be obligated by a certain date (typically end of fiscal year), but the period of performance is not necessarily directly tied to the obligation date. You wouldn't be "obligating the contract for 12 months," but would be obligating the Government on the date the contract is signed. The period of performance would extend for 12 months. See section 123.3 of the OMB circular at this link
. It explains that end dates of CR authority apply to the time (date) by which Government funds must by obligated, as opposed to the actual period of performance. As this is more of a budget question than a contracting question and has important implications, please consult with your activity's Budget office for a definitive response.