To many, how agencies obligate and spend funds under a Continuing Resolution (CR) is a bit confusing. Simply put, under the CR signed by the president, agencies can execute funds in FY2011 during the CR period (currently through Dec 3) at the FY2010 level. But, for some agencies and programs it may be a bit more complicated than that. The Office of Management and Budget’s guidance memo sets the rules under which agencies will operate during the current CR. Under the 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 formula for determining the automatic rate multiplies the amount provided in the CR by the percentage of the year covered in the CR. In this case the automatic apportionment rate is 17.53 percent. However, if the historical rate for obligations normally obligated during the time period is lower than the automatic rate, this “historical seasonal rate” will be used. However, not all programs receive funding during the CR. Agencies cannot obligate funds (unless given OMB approval) for programs for which no funding was included in an FY2011 appropriations bill that has been passed or reported out of committee in the House or the Senate. The OMB memo also provides guidance for obligating funds in FY2011 for programs funded in an FY2010 supplemental appropriations act and for ongoing overseas contingencies. OMB guidance provides apportionment levels for civilian personnel compensation to reduce the chances of furloughs. The rules provide for apportionment rates for civilian compensation and benefits at a higher daily rate if necessary. However, OMB advises that agencies must receive pre-approval to get this higher rate. The CR also does not allow for "new starts" (programs not funded in FY2010) or for an increase in production rates above the FY2010 level. These rules are necessary to ensure that agencies operate during the CR within the legal and regulatory requirements and avoid antidefiency actions. If you have questions about how the CR affects you and your program, contact your FM or general counsel office.