LIKE AN INJURED PLAYER, DHS IS “WEEK TO WEEK”
Congress did technically manage to avoid shutting down the Department of Homeland Security late Friday night. But make no mistake, the damage has already been done. Similarly, unless Congress manages to pass a longer-term funding measure, contractors can expect that much of DHS will be on a “virtual” shutdown, even if it is technically open. “Non-essential” employees have already been told they will be furloughed, dooming productivity in an agency already well-known for morale problems. Contracting officials have slowed or stopped contract award decisions as uncertainty over funding looms high. Long term planning, to the extent that it was still happening under the existing CR, has also been slowed as the agency can’t make any but the most basic commitments if they may only have short term funding. Taken together, these are clear indications that contractors will find more fertile business fields in almost any other federal agency. While Congress and the Administration battle over larger Constitutional issues, such as Separation of Powers, DHS employees and its contractors may as well be on injured reserve.