Today we are one week from a potential government shutdown. It is a time of great uncertainty. Over the last three days there have been a host of press articles raising questions as to how the government will handle a shutdown and what it may mean for government contractors. How should contractors prepare for a potential shutdown? Are there steps that a contractor can take to help mitigate the uncertainties of a shutdown? With these questions squarely in mind, this week’s Comment includes an article prepared by David Dowd, Partner at Mayer Brown, LLP, addressing the basics of a shutdown with some general recommendations for mitigating risk.
There are some practical considerations that I recall from the last shutdown, when I was served in GSA’s Office of General Counsel. Although I was directed not to report to work, my clients went to work. The differing treatment centered on funding. Employees funded through GSA’s reimbursement fees could report to work. Employees funded through any sort of appropriation could not work. However, there was no hard and fast rule. Some GSA offices sent all employees home, regardless of the source of operational funding (including reimbursement fees). As such, the type and/or source of funding is a key consideration as to whether a program shuts down or not. Ultimately, agency management must make the call based on any number of considerations. Contractors must prepare and then react. I believe it is vital for contractors to reach out to their contracting officers—communication is key to identifying the measures that can help mitigate risk. Enough from the Coalition on this issue, please take a look at Mr. Dowd’s article Government Shutdown: A Contractor’s Guide, and let us know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the potential shutdown.