Sometimes I intend to cover the basics of government as it currently operates. This probably will reveal many of my bias' as to getting the public the most for its investment of tax dollars.
What is the importance of a given FY [Fiscal Year] ending? Specifically grants and contracts must be obligated during a single year designated unless they are authorized to be obligated on a muliple year basis. The DRF [Disaster Relief Fund] is one example of funding that typically but not always is not restricted to any specific fiscal year. I have long advocated a two year budget for the federal government with the defense budget including DOE and VA and certain other programs, functions and activities being in one portion and the rest of the federal budget in another. This would allow better overall planning and administration but not lilely to happen anytime soon. The FY end on October 1st of each year was designed to deal with the inability of Congress to enact a budget by the July 1st date that ruled at one point. Again of course this year most of the federal government will be under a CR [Continuing Resolution} in a mere 13 days including today Saturday the 18th of September. Some might be surprised to learn that of those 13 days Congress will probably only be in legislative session for 6 or 7 days. Then off to campaign to elect the entirety of the HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES and 37 new Senators or incumbents for the 112th Congress. Thus the prospects are for a CR that may last until Easter.
All grants and contracts not obligated this FY with FY2010 money are essentially lapsed monies so that a frenzy of activity will be taking place over the next 12 days by departments and agencies trying to minimize the lapse in budget execution authority and obligation authority. OMB of course is in the drivers seat anytime the departments and agencies are under a CR because they can force by failure to issue allocations the use of the lower of the SENATE or HOUSE Appropriations ceilings or last years appropriations ceilings as enacted into law.
At any rate don't ask why the lights are burning late this next two weeks because the procurement offices and grant awards offices are trying their very best to reduce amounts of any funds lapsing.