4220.1L ADM Operations in the Absence of Appropriations

  • Posted Date: 09/24/2018
  • Status: Validated
  • Outdated on: 09/24/2025

Latest information regarding government shutdown impact on GSA (01/14/2019)



               Washington, DC  20405


ADM 4220.1L

September 24, 2018




SUBJECT:  Operations in the Absence of Appropriations

1.   Purpose.  This Order updates the GSA plan for conducting an orderly shutdown in the event of the absence of appropriations.

2.   Cancellation.  ADM 4220.1K is cancelled.

3.   Background.

      a.   The language and legislative history of the Antideficiency Act unambiguously prohibit agency officials from incurring obligations in the absence of appropriations.  This is supported by opinions from the United States Attorney General and the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

      b.   In the absence of appropriations, Federal officers may not incur any obligations that cannot lawfully be funded from prior appropriations unless such obligations are otherwise authorized by law.  Federal officers may incur obligations as necessary for orderly termination of an agency's functions, but funds may not be disbursed.

      c.   To ensure compliance with these directives, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular No. A-11, Section 124, "Agency Operations in the Absence of Appropriations", requires all Agency heads to develop and maintain plans for an orderly shutdown in the event of the absence of appropriations.

      d.   The Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OFCO), Office of Budget (BB), is responsible for maintaining and updating this Order; coordinating activities to ensure proper implementation of this policy; and reporting plans and activities to the Administrator and to OMB.  BB will work with OMB to resolve funding questions and concerns in the absence of appropriations.

4.   Summary of agency activities under a lapse in appropriations.

      a.   GSA was established to provide facilities and services to Federal agencies government-wide to enable them to better focus on their core missions and improve economies and efficiencies by leveraging the buying power of the Government (See Title 40, U.S. Code §501 et seq.).  GSA is the Federal agency responsible for managing assets of the United States, including acquisition, operation, and disposal of real and personal property, and providing government-wide policy guidance and information to citizens;

      b.   GSA provides workspace for over one million Federal employees through over 8,700 owned and leased properties, and maintains a variety of personal property, including over 200,000 Federal motor vehicles.  GSA provides over 12 million products and services necessary for other agencies to perform their missions.  GSA's role as an aggregator of large numbers of government assets and a supplier of critical tools, equipment, and supplies to other Federal agencies requires that GSA retain adequate staffing under a lapse in appropriations in order to protect Federal property under GSA's custody and control and to continue to provide critical support to other Federal agencies' exempt and excepted activities necessary for the protection of life and Federal property.

      c.   In the absence of appropriations, GSA owned and leased buildings will remain open and operate in "weekend mode."  Maintenance and janitorial services, telephone service, lighting, and power will continue so that tenant agencies can continue to provide vital services and perform essential missions.  These services will be provided to the extent necessary and may be reduced from regular service levels.  The Federal Protective Service will continue to provide building security.

      d.   Because GSA is the Government's property manager, GSA personnel will be responsible for maintaining, protecting and preserving that property to a greater extent than many other agencies that are not responsible for property and asset management government-wide.  Excepted GSA employees will be responsible for protecting life and/or Federal property and providing necessary support to other Government agencies to enable them to perform excepted activities.

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