Operations in the Absence of Appropriations

Number: 4220.1R ADM
Status: Active
Signature Date: 11/07/2023
Expiration Date: 11/30/2026

1.  Purpose.

This Order updates the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) plan for conducting an orderly shutdown in the event of the absence of appropriations.

2.  Cancellation.

This Order cancels and supersedes GSA Order ADM 4220.1Q.

3. Revision. 

     a.  Updated numbers of employee by fund and expected status during a shutdown

     b.  Added language specifying how the Office of Government-wide Policy’s, Office of Inspector General’s, and Civilian Board of Contract Appeal’s carryover funding could be utilized under a lapse in appropriations

     c.  Clarified language about when GSA personnel supporting a Presidential Transition could be considered exempt or excepted for the purposes of supporting transition activities

4.  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 U.S. 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 (OCFO), 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. In the event of a lapse in appropriations, OCFO will also be responsible for requesting a full year apportionment for the Federal Buildings Fund’s (FBF) Rental of Space account.