Continuing Resolution Slowing Grant Award Process

On September 29th, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution to fund the Federal Government through December 3rd. President Obama signed it into Public Law on September 30th (P.L. 111-242). Under the Continuing Resolution, programs are not to start new projects.


Up until this date, a flurry of activity had been occurring in September in several major Federal grant programs. Awards had been announced for the Solving Cold Cases through DNA analysis program for law enforcement and the Assistance to Firefighters Grant ( AFG) program had begun updating  direct deposit forms ( 1199a) with new award numbers and had finished conducting peer review for the Staffing For Adequate Fire & Emergency Response ( SAFER). They also finished up on peer review of the remainder of the 2010 AFG applications that had not been accomplished during the initial peer panel review. Everyone was in “ready, set, go” mode and happily believing that the “slow/delayed award release” debacle that occurred in the 2009 grants was being corrected.


With the recess of Congress, to tend to their mid-term election activities, all grant activity just about came to a screeching halt…. no awards, no rejection notices, no updating of direct deposit forms and no information from the program offices of when it would resume. Considering that Congress is the engine of the country, it is as if someone simply turned the car off and removed the key from the ignition.


So we sit here and wait. That mentality just fuels complacence and procrastination and is hindering departments and cities, which are already reeling from the effects of the country’s economic meltdown, from trying to properly plan their financial strategy.


There is no sense in crying over spilled milk and eventually the grant awards will resume and hopefully get back on track but, in the meantime, that does not mean we should be sitting around and twiddling our thumbs. This is the time to be conducting those long postponed needs and critical capabilities assessments or dragging out the boxes of past statistical data and starting to organize and collate that data in preparation for the 2011 grant cycle to begin. It’s time to start researching what opportunities my be available to you next year and learn what will be expected of you in an application. Bone up on your grant knowledge, maybe take a grant writing class and gain that upper hand now. Competition for 2011 grant money is going to be the fiercest it has been in many years. A smaller pool of money and more applicants than ever, mean you need to bring your “A” game to the court this year.