Potential Lapse in Federal Government Funding

A Message from OVW Director Susan B. Carbon
Potential Lapse in Federal Government Funding

Good morning –

The continuing resolution (CR) to fund Federal government operations expires at midnight EDT on Friday, April 8, 2011.  Given the uncertainties related to the Department of Justice’s appropriations, we are planning for the potential lapse in Federal government funding.  We are providing the following information to answer questions you may have on the impact such a lapse in appropriations will have on your grant/cooperative agreement or the availability of DOJ systems and services.

Continuation of Grantee Activities under Existing Grants/Cooperative Agreements

Will I be able to continue activities and projects funded under my existing OVW grants or cooperative agreements during a period of a Federal government funding lapse?

Response:  Yes. Grantee activities and projects funded under existing grants will generally be able to continue.  The exception to this guidance would be if Federal employee involvement is critical to the project being carried out or proceeding to the next step.  For example, under a cooperative agreement, there may be actions that a Federal employee has to take for a project to continue; that is, the project has arrived at a decision point that requires Federal government approval or other determination in order for the project to proceed to the next step.

Will grantee-sponsored events (such as conferences, meetings, and trainings) scheduled during the period of a Federal government funding lapse be affected?

Response:   No. Grantee-sponsored events (e.g., conferences, meetings, trainings) scheduled during a potential funding lapse generally will not be affected and can proceed as planned.  The exception to this guidance would be if Federal employee participation in these meetings or training is critical in order for these events to proceed.  This could include Federal employee involvement to carry out the event or provide oversight/guidance.

Grantee Requests for Payments

Will I be able to request payments and draw down funds during a period of a Federal government funding lapse?

Response:  No.  The Grant Payment Request System (GPRS) will not be available to users during a period of a Federal government funding lapse.

Is there any mechanism for grantees to draw down funds if there is  a protracted lapse in Federal government funding?

Response:  As noted above, payment request systems are not available to users during a period of Federal government funding lapse.  DOJ employees generally cannot be excepted from furlough to assist grantees in drawing down Federal grant funds.  There may be very limited circumstances, however, where accessing grant funds is necessary because OVW’s failure to make payment – during the funding lapse – itself would result in an imminent threat to life or property or would significantly damage the execution of the terms of the statute underlying the grant program.  If a grantee believes that a delay in accessing funds (as opposed to the absence of those funds altogether) would result in such an imminent threat or damage, the grantee should contact OVW at OVW.Director@usdoj.gov with the following words in the subject line “OVW Grantee Emergency Request” and a description of the emergency.

Grants Management System (GMS) and Grant Administration Activities

Will the Grants Management System (GMS) and the GMS Help Desk be available during a period of a Federal government funding lapse?

Response:  No. The Grants Management System (GMS) will not be available to users.  Users will not have access to apply for funds, submit progress and Federal Financial Reports (FFRs), request grant adjustment notices, or respond to on-site monitoring issues for resolution.  Likewise, the GMS Help Desk will not be available to users; nor will Federal government employees be available to process existing requests.

Will I be able to submit Federal Financial Reports (FFRs), progress reports, or performance measurement reports?

Response:  No.  The Grants Management System (GMS) will not be available to accept progress reports and Federal Financial Reports (FFRs) during a period of a Federal government funding lapse.  Please note:  To provide adequate time to grantees to prepare and submit their Federal Financial Reports (FFR) due on April 30, 2011 for the period January 1 – March 31, the deadline will be extended by the number of days of the funding lapse.

Will the OVW Grants Financial Management Division (GFMD) Customer Service Desk or my OVW program specialist be available to answer questions or provide assistance during a period of a Federal government funding lapse?

Response:  No.  The GFMD Customer Service Desk and OVW program specialists will not be available during the period of a Federal government funding lapse.

OVW On-site Monitoring Visits

Will an OVW programmatic or an Office of Justice Programs (OJP) financial on-site monitoring visit scheduled during a period of a Federal government funding lapse still occur?

Response:  No.  All on-site monitoring visits scheduled during a period of a Federal government funding lapse will be postponed or cancelled.  Please expect your OVW program specialist or an OJP financial monitor to contact you to reschedule the on-site visit.

Recovery Act Recipient Reporting

As a Recovery Act funding recipient, will I be required to report to FederalReporting.gov during the current recipient period of April 1 -14, 2011?

Response:  Yes.  The FederalReporting.gov and their Help Desk will not be impacted by a Federal government lapse in funding and will remain open and fully operational during the April Reporting Cycle and Continuous QA.  A message is currently posted on the FederalReporting.gov that provides this information to Recovery Act recipients.

Applying for OVW Open Solicitations

Will I be able to submit funding applications for open solicitations through the Grants Management System (GMS) during a period of a Federal government funding lapse?

Response:  No.  The GMS will not be available to accept funding applications.  To provide adequate time for an applicant to prepare and submit an application, OVW will extend deadlines for open solicitations that are impacted by a Federal government funding lapse.

Will I be able to submit funding applications for open solicitations through Grants.gov during the period of a Federal government funding lapse?

Response:  Yes.  Grants.gov will be available to accept applications for open OVW solicitations. These applications will not be received in OVW until after a lapse in funding ends.  Because OVW programmatic contacts identified in solicitations will not be available during this period, open solicitations with deadlines that end during the period of the Federal government funding lapse will be extended to afford adequate time for application questions, preparation, and submission.

OVW Website

Will I be able to access information from the OVW website?

Response:  No.  The OVW website will not be available.

Questions about this Guidance

If I have a question related to this guidance or the impact of a Federal government funding lapse on my grants, whom can I contact to assist me?

Response:  Federal government employees will be available to assist you while the Federal government is open. Please contact your OVW program specialist using contact information provided in your award document or your most recent communication.  If your program specialist is not available, please contact OVW by email at OVW.Director@usdoj.govPlease note that during a lapse in Federal appropriations, Federal staff will not be available to answers questions.

For additional information, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has prepared guidance regarding agency operations during a lapse in government funding.  The OMB guidance can be found on-line at http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/memoranda/2011/m11-13.pdf.  The Department of Justice-specific contingency plan can also be accessed on-line at

http://www.justice.gov/jmd/publications/2011-doj-contingency-plan.pdf.

We realize the inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your cooperation.

Susan B. Carbon
Director
Office on Violence Against Women
U.S. Department of Justice

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Works for the Tribal Law & Policy Institute as a web developer.

Posted in Funding Opportunities, Indian Country News

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