Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the federal government into emergency spending mode, agencies — including the Defense Department — were on pace to blow past the single-year contract spending record of $598 billion set in fiscal 2019.
As of Aug. 5, the federal government has obligated $438 billion in spending, with agencies expected to unload almost $200 billion more before the close of the 2020 fiscal year on Sept. 30, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis. The government typically spends about one-third of all money appropriated by Congress in its fourth quarter — July, August and September — since most money unspent is returned to the Treasury.
“We’ve been saying at the end of fiscal 2020, total government spending is likely to be around $630 billion,” Daniel Synder, director of government contracts analysis at Bloomberg Government, told Nextgov. “That was before we factored anything related to the CARES Act or COVID-19 spending.”
Synder said the $2 trillion stimulus package passed in March could add another $10 billion to $20 billion to the government’s total discretionary spending in fiscal 2020 — much of it on networking capacity, bandwidth and telework services — which would put the government’s total discretionary spending to $650 billion or more.
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