With all the discussion about the new administration’s policies, cabinet confirmations, filling senior executive positions throughout government, a Supreme Court nominee and following the Twitter sphere, where should one focus? Bottom line: plan for a late, short and quick legislative cycle for FY18. I’ve had the opportunity over the past month to engage with industry, Pentagon and Congressional leaders – a common message from all is the prospect of opportunities for defense. Be engaged and be ready. Your moment will come and pass quickly. SASC Chairman McCain’s first effort to mark a blueprint ahead is here.
What it Means
– The FY17 continuing resolution expires April 28th. It is likely that an FY17 appropriation will be signed before the end of April.
– A supplemental appropriation of $6-9B has been in the works since before the end of the last Congress. Expect it to reemerge within the coming weeks. It addressed a few items that were left on the cutting room floor of the FY17 debate and will provide a bridge of sorts into the FY18 debate.
– The FY18 budget is anticipated to come forward from OMB to Congress by late April, definitely by 1 May. The nominee for OMB director, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), has faced a challenging confirmation process but should ultimately be confirmed. Delivery of the President’s budget request typically signals the start of the process and legislative season.
– Full-blown posture hearings will not begin before the budget is made public. This effectively delays the start of the process.
– Committee staffs are largely waiting for direction on a legislative schedule. If you have a stable program without special needs, it’s worth checking in with your committee professional staff member to provide your routine update. If you have special needs, it’s best to wait for confirmation of your budget number when the FY18 budget is released. Communication with your oversight committee’s professional staff member(s) early is always a good idea.
– Make sure your government customer understands the status of your program and your contract as we approach an interesting year. The flow of funds for FY17 will come quickly once that appropriation is signed.
Don’t be distracted by the noise. The process remains in place and really can’t be short-circuited.