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  • Question

    During a Continuing Resolution, can you fund a severable contract when the PoP crosses FYs? (Example: PoP is 30 November - 31 October)


    Answer

    Unlike an appropriations act, a CR normally does not specify dollar amounts of Budget Authority.  It permits federal government agencies to operate at "the current rate of operations", which is usually based on one of the following levels depending on circumstances specified in the CR:

     (1) The amount the activity was appropriated in the prior year or

     (2) The lowest Congressional mark.

    The interpretation of a "current rate of operations" is left to the individual agencies.  Each develops internal ‘formulas’ and supporting policies to compute the amounts available for continuing programs at minimum levels, which means the rates of fund obligation are usually very controlled and limited to potentially even impede the planned ‘ramp-up’ of efforts across some programs in that FY.  While a Service might provide an individual program a relatively large percentage of its probable total funding for the fiscal year, that appropriation account at the Service level must be held to the limit under the CR.

    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. OMB circular A-11 Section 123 provides an explanation of the end date of the CR authority applies to the date the Government funds must by obligated, as opposed to the actual period of performance. Although your command may limit the amount of funding that is provided to fund the severable service contract, there is no specific limitation that states that a severable service contract that crosses fiscal years can’t be funded under a CR.

    Recommend that you consult with your Command’s Comptroller or Legal for more guidance on your specific issue.

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