By Steve Hymon, September 23, 2013
The federal government may or may not be open for business one week from tomorrow. That is potentially a problem for Metro and many other transit agencies that are receiving or are set to secure funding for transportation projects and other programs.
Here’s the latest update from Metro’s government relations staff:
Congressional Gridlock on Continuing Resolution Leads Federal Agencies to Update Plans for Shutdown
With less than two weeks before a potential shutdown of the federal government, the U.S. House of Representatives moved today to pass a continuing resolution that would defund the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Earlier this week, the White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy making clear that the President’s advisors would recommend that President Obama veto the House measure that was adopted today.
The U.S. Senate, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), has vowed to adopt a continuing resolution without provisions that defund the ACA. The considerable gap between the House and Senate is leading some observers to conclude that a shutdown of the federal government is likely if a continuing resolution is not adopted by September 30, 2013.
In preparation for a potential shutdown of the federal government, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued a memorandum directing all federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, to update their plans in the event that Congress is unable to adopt a continuing resolution by September 30, 2013.
According to the OMB, the Antideficiency Act prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations that are in advance of, or that exceed, an appropriation. How this provision will be executed by the U.S. Department of Transportation is, at present, unclear.
We are working with our federal partners at the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, among others, to fully understand how they will be operating under a possible shutdown of the federal government and specifically, how their actions will impact ongoing projects and programs at our agency. We will keep the Board informed on this matter as Congress continues to debate a resolution next week.