Shutdown: What It Means for Grantmaking AgenciesSo it's begun. The politics of trying to get a continuing resolution (CR) through Congress is dominating the headlines. The latest news is about House and Senate members going to a joint conference to resolve differences in their respective bills, with Republicans wanting to use the event to stop Obamacare and Democrats wanting a "clean” CR but then using the conference to discuss larger budget issues.

But what does this mean for grantseekers?

Competitive grants
Under a shutdown, for the most part government agencies are not able to make any new awards or contracts, or sign agreements to continue existing awards (albeit there are some exceptions). The staffers who prepare RFPs are going to be on furlough, as are most (though not all) officials with management responsibilities over grants that are already awarded.

The news isn't all bad:  The Federal Register will continue to be published (mainly because of statutory requirements concerning the posting of certain regulations), and RFPs which have already been developed for FY 2014 can potentially be posted in the FR, alerting potential applicants to competitions for which they can prepare grant proposals. The government's website, Grants.gov, should also remain operational, but with less staff support).

Individual benefits
Key programs such as Social Security and Medicare will continue to provide benefits, as is the case with other entitlement programs where payments are funded via permanent entitlement authority.

Formula, block grants and other programs
Activities funded with appropriations of budget authority that do not expire at the end of the fiscal year, such as multiple-year appropriations or appropriations which still have budget authority available for obligation at the time of a funding gap, can continue.

Programs which involve the safety of human life or protection of property, as long as the threat is real and imminent, can continue to operate.  

Agencies plans 
Department of Health and Human Services: The vast majority of employee furloughs would be among grantmaking and employee extensive agencies such as the Administration for Children and Families, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Administration for Community Living and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: Funds for the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance program would be available today, due to advanced appropriations enacted in the 2013 appropriations legislation.

Medicare would in the short term be relatively unaffected by a lapse in appropriations

CMS would continue a "large portion” of Affordable Care Act activities, including:
  1. Coordination between Medicaid and Health Insurance Marketplaces.
  2. Insurance rate reviews.
  3. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.
  4. Pre-existing Condition Insurance plan activities.
Indian Health Service: IHS would continue to provide direct clinical health care services as well as referrals for contracted services that cannot be provided through HIS clinics. However, HIS would not be able to provide grant funding to tribes and urban Indian health programs.

Health Resources and Services Administration: HRSA would continue activities funded through sources other than annual appropriations, including Community Health Centers, the National Health Service Corps, and Maternal Infant and Child Health Home Visiting Program. Among the programs HRSA would not be able to provide payments for are the Children's Hospital GME Program, AIDS Drug Assistance Program, and Emergency Relief Grants and Comprehensive Care.

Administration for Children and Families: ACF would continue mandatory funded programs such as the Personal Responsibility Education and Health Professional Opportunity grant programs. Child support and foster care services would continue because they receive advanced appropriations in the FY 2013 appropriations process. ACF would not be able to make new discretionary grants, nor continue quarterly formula grants for TANF, child care, Social Services Block Grant, child welfare programs and the Community Service Block Grant programs.

Administration for Community Living: ACL would continue to support Aging and Disability Resource Centers and healthcare fraud activities supported through mandatory appropriations.  Programs like Senior Nutrition, Native American Nutrition and Support Services, Prevention of Elder Abuse and Neglect, Long-Term Care Ombudsman program and Protection and Advocacy for persons with developmental disabilities would not be funded.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: No new grants; existing programs such as suicide prevention or other national hot lines would continue.

National Institutions of Health: Patient care would continue, but no new research grants would be awarded.

Center for Disease Control: Most domestic programs would be put on hold, with the exception of the Vaccines for Children program.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: Oversight would continue on projects funded by the Patient Center Outcomes Research Trust Fund. No new grants or awards will be available.

Bureau of Indian Education: As BIA funds are forward funded (the 2013-14 school year was funded in FY 2013's appropriations), monies are available to support ongoing school operations for the period of July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014.  

Bureau of Indian Affairs: Funds will be available to:
  • Support critical services that address health and safety of tribes and tribal members.
  • Support investigation of allegations of child abuse and neglect.
  • Provide law enforcement and detention operations on Indian lands, and help coordinate tribal law enforcement activities.
  • Provide transportation infrastructure on tribal lands.
  • Wildlife fire management
Fish and Wildlife Service: Most wetlands conservation activities administered by the North American Wetland Conservation Fund would continue; these are funded through permanent accounts, not annual appropriations, and in this case, "carryover balanced and new recipients would be available.”

Department of Housing and Urban Development: All FY 2013 Indian Housing Block Grant and Indian Community Development Block Grant awards that have been recorded in the LOCCS system will be available during the government shutdown; however, if the grantee did not return their signed grant agreement before Oct. 1, grant funds will not be available in LOCCS until the grant agreement process is complete. All processing will stop during the government shutdown. The IHBG customer service center will continue to operate but in limited capacity.

As for public housing, HUD will continue to address emergency situations where failure to perform those functions would result in an imminent threat to the safety of human life or the protection of property. HUD will also keep open the line of credit contract for purposes of disbursing funds for public housing. For purposes of a shutdown, PHA or tribally-designated housing entities are not part of the federal government and would not close. However, some TDHEs may need to change their normal operating hours, as administrative funds are federal. 

HUD will not be able to fund additional rental assistance payments to public and Indian Housing authorities. The agency predicts TDHEs should be able to continue providing rental assistance for the month of October. But, if the shutdown continues, some TDHE may not be able to maintain normal operations.

Under a shutdown, the Office of Loan Guarantees (Sec. 184) would be closed, so new case numbers, commitments or loan guarantee certificates will be issued for the Indian Housing LGP or Native Hawaiian Housing LGP programs.

For more on this and other issues affecting funding for social service programs, check out CD Publications at www.CDPublications.com or call toll-free 1-800-666-6380, ext. 144.

Source: Press Release from CD Publications