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  • Question

    Is the initial award anti-deficient; and if so who is ultimately held legally responsible; the awarding contract specialist or the budget personnel responsible for approving the budget portion of the purchase request? Is anti-deficiency based on individual funded accounts or the overall funded budget/programs of an agency or bureau providing flexibility on the budget side of the house as long as the appropriated amount is not exceeded or is it based on the individual award? Is it the responsibility of the acquisition workforce to monitor budgeted accounts to ensure the full funding is in the account?


    Answer

    31 U.S.C. 1517(a)(1) states that "An officer or employee of the United States many not make or authorize an obligation or expenditure that exceeds an amount available in an apportionment." Note in particular the wording "make or authorize an obligation or expenditure." According to that language, the contracting officer who obligated the funds is primarily responsible. However, the error was discovered and corrected, so any "blame" is subject to management decision. 31 U.S.C. 1517(a)(2) goes on to state that "An officer or employee may not make or authorize an expenditure that exceeds the amount in a formal administrative subdivision established by regulations." This pushes the requirement to avoid anti-deficiency violations down to the individual funded account level, or the lowest "formal administrative subdivision." As this is a matter of fiscal law, please consult your agency's legal counsel for more information.

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