A federal budget was passed during the lame duck session in mid-December, meaning that with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security (who are still on continuing resolution until the end of February), everybody else now has an official budget.
Under a continuing resolution, Congress authorizes that government agencies can continue their current activities, but cannot start anything new. They can renew old stuff, create a continuing contract (so there might be re-contracting competitions), but can’t do any new stuff.
We didn’t have a budget in 2014, because with the election no one wanted to commit to a budget. So they passed a continuing resolution. In the meantime, the world has changed. There has been action on things like immigration, cyber security, and homeland security.
So now what’s going to happen is that these budgets are going to filter down to the people who have requirements, which will then become contracting actions. We can expect that probably by February or March, people will be issuing new task orders, new contracts, etc.
At this point departments are dividing up their budgets to decide who gets what. Let’s say the Department of the Army got $50, but their original budget was $55. Now they have to split up that new figure amongst all the different sub-functions within their realm. Eventually the money all gets down to the people who are ready to work.
As contractors, now is the time – right now – to talk to your customers (existing and new potential ones). Because if they’re going to get money and commit to new things, you can start laying the groundwork for how they funnel that money.
As it always comes back to in our discussions, success in federal contracting is about building relationships. This is the point when you have to mine those relationships. You’ve got a customer, you have a solution, and they have money – if all these criteria are met, you’re good to go.