A key change in Washington since the government shutdown in the mid-1990s is an increased reliance on contractors, industry specialists note, but the damage a spending lapse might inflict on contracting companies this year would depend on their ability to use past-year funds.
“The short-term impact is that no new awards can be made, no options can be exercised and payments for ongoing work may be delayed,” said Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel at the Professional Services Council, a contractors trade group. “Since many companies already have been awarded contracts paid with prior-year appropriations, that work will continue provided that there’s no need for continuous government supervision or direction,” which is not the case with most contracts.
Trey Hodgkins, senior vice president for national security and procurement policy at TechAmerica, said, “If you have a valid contract in place that has a life beyond fiscal 2013, the funds are available and obligated, and employees are expected to show up at work. The biggest challenge you may find is that your government counterpart may not be there, or the government facility may not be open.”
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