This year, some extraordinary pressures have come to bear around federal spending.
There’s the seeming chaos in Washington, with the new administration failing to fill hundreds of mid- and senior-level jobs. There’s the dire sense in most agencies that next year’s budget will be smaller. And there’s the fog and uncertainty that come with operating under a series of continuing resolutions.
A change of party in the White House typically puts the brakes on spending at least temporarily, as agencies sort out their new priorities. This time around? Double it, with an administration that governs by tweet and a POTUS who appears to thrive on keeping agencies off balance. The chaos inside the Beltway is bipartisan and cuts across every agency not focused on security or defense.
Despite these factors, observers say, the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017 is shaping up to be business as usual. “The No. 1 reason you get cut is if you don’t spend the money that you have,” said David Berteau, president and CEO of the Professional Services Council. “So the proposed cuts give people an incentive to spend, and those forces outweigh the uncertainty.”