The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued guidance setting the rules under which federal agencies will operate during the FY2015 Continuing Resolution (CR) enacted (H.J. Res 124) late last month. The CR period runs from October 1 through December 11, 2014.
Under this guidance, OMB will apportion (distribute funds to agencies to be available for obligation) funds automatically to appropriations accounts during the CR period, unless language in the CR provides for specific levels of funding or special rules.
The amount provided in the FY2015 CR is the “rate for operations provided in the applicable appropriations acts for fiscal year (FY) 2014 and under the authority and conditions provided in such Acts,” according to the OMB memo. The amount is net of any rescissions, plus or minus mandated transfers, and includes a 0.0554 percent reduction required in the CR (Section 101(b). However, funds designated for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism and disaster relief are excluded from the 0.0554 percent cut.
OMB calculates the automatic apportionment rate by multiplying the annualized amount by the percentage of the year covered in the CR. In this case the automatic apportionment rate is 19.73 percent to cover the 72-day CR period.
Not all accounts receive funding during the CR period. Agencies cannot obligate funds for accounts for which no funding was included in an FY2015 appropriations bill that has been passed or reported out of committee in either the House or the Senate. If a program (PPA) within an account has not been funded (zero-funded) by the House or Senate, the account will receive an automatic apportionment and the agency can fund the program within the account total.
OMB notes that the CR provides limited authority (in Section 112) to mitigate civilian furloughs during the CR period Apportionments for civilian personnel compensation and benefits can be apportioned at an “accelerated rate.” However, OMB advises that agencies must receive written pre-approval to receive a higher rate, but expects few if any written apportionments using this authority.
The OMB memo addresses specific CR issues of interest in a “Frequently Asked Questions” format in Attachment A of the memo.