The Continuing Resolution
I spent a few days this week with the Shipbuilders Council of America at their fall meeting in Newport News, VA. Attendees represented all aspects of the defense and commercial shipbuilding industry. Members of SCA do hard stuff – they build the most complex ships in the world and integrate them with the most complex electronics systems in the world. Aircraft carriers, submarines, commercial ships of all sizes and workboats. These are bright people applying one of the oldest trades to the present day needs of the nation. I’m often asked challenging questions in settings such as this about doing business with the federal government.
- What does the Continuing Resolution mean?
- How in the world does the government and Congress even function in this toxic environment?
- How am I able to even stand working around it?
- Will I ever get my contract funded?
Generally, I view the situation through an apolitical lens, which is admittedly sometimes difficult. I also try to limit my focus to how the Washington action of the day impacts businesses and their federal sales. This Quick Hit captures a few of the timeless basics that should be considered by anyone selling to the federal government.
- Despite the headlines, there are always forces and processes at play. While you may have opinions on all of them, you don’t need to try and solve for all of them as relates to your business.
- Political forces can take on their own life
- Conservative, moderate, liberal
- This reality was deliberately built into our system of government
- They are amplified in disparate ways by our world of high-speed media
- Social forces sometimes drive or inhibit timelines
- Immigration, guns, equality
- They are also amplified in disparate ways by high-speed media
- Constitutional, legislative, budget
- There are established steps and protocols associated with these underpinning process structures
- Behind the headlines and high-speed media, the processes are in perpetual motion…and in motion relative to one another.
- The political and social forces often use the processes to leverage change
What It Means
- As relates to conducting federal sales, I encourage clients to focus on the process. The processes will unfold despite the political and social forces. There may be disruptions, distractions or delays, but the processes will unfold. They do so every year.
- A Continuing Resolution is frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world.
- Funding at prior year spending levels still takes place
- Adds to the President’s Budget intended by Congress are delayed until the CR is resolved
- New starts of programs are not allowed unless specifically waived via an “anomaly” in the CR
- The present CR is scheduled to last until 21 November
Think back to the end of July of this year. While only a matter of single digit weeks, it was a political lifetime ago.
- The concept of impeachment was being held at bay
- A Congressional budget agreement through the 2020 election had been agreed
- FY20 Appropriations bills were being grouped into logical mini-buses that would likely have passed by mid-October
- The National Defense Authorization Act had been passed through both the House and Senate and was ready to move swiftly to conference
Flash forward to today and the news surrounding impeachment would have you think all of those positives had been erased. That is not the case. They have merely been deferred. As relates to your business and federal sales, focus on the process.
Check Out Gene’s Federal Funding Seminar
Gene is conducting his only seminar of the year October 24th in Washington, DC. The seminar is designed to help you better position for FY21 and beyond. Send a high-potential employee or refer a colleague. This is a small group event – act now before this seminar closes out. Learn how to win more Federal business. Click here for details. Stay tuned for an announcement from Capitol Integration in the coming week!