Building Resilience: Lessons from Past Government Shutdowns

Oct 3, 2023 9:00:00 AM / by USFCR


Federal contracting is more than just a business—it's a journey filled with twists and turns. One of those twists? Government shutdowns. But here at USFCR, we see these challenges as stepping stones to growth. So, let's talk about the recent 45-day spending bill and what it means for federal contractors.

The Impact Over Time: A Look at Shutdowns—The 45-Day Lifeline

Since 1976, federal contracting has weathered multiple government shutdowns. These aren't mere calendar events; they're industry-shaping milestones. The 2013 shutdown lasted 16 days and led to a financial loss of $11 billion. The longest U.S. shutdown spanned 35 days in 2018-2019, costing the economy $11 billion, with a permanent loss of $3 billion.

Recent Update: On October 1, 2023, a 45-day spending bill was passed, averting a government shutdown. While this is a relief, it's a temporary one. The bill only extends funding through November 17th, 2023. So, don't be surprised if we're back in this situation soon.

Keeping the Wheels Turning: Contracts That Persist

Even during shutdowns, not all federal contracting stops. Essential contracts or those with prior funding often continue. This highlights the dynamic nature of federal contracting and the opportunities that still exist, even in tough times.

The Human Factor: More Than Just Numbers

Shutdowns impact lives, not just contracts. The 2013 shutdown affected 800,000 federal contractor employees. Each number is a person, a family, or a dream. This emphasizes the need for clear communication and mutual support during these challenging times.

Strategies to Navigate Shutdowns: Your Action Plan

While we can't control government actions, we can control our response. Here are some strategies to help federal contractors like you navigate the uncertain terrain of government shutdowns:

  1. Diversify Your Contract Portfolio: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Diversifying your contract portfolio across multiple agencies can provide a safety net.

  2. Build a Financial Cushion: Shutdowns often lead to delayed payments. A robust financial cushion can help you weather the storm.

  3. Keep Communication Lines Open: Regularly contact your contracting officers and clients. Transparency is key.

  4. Review Contract Clauses: Familiarize yourself with your contracts' "stop-work order" and "excusable delays" clauses.

  5. Be Prepared to Pivot: Have a contingency plan ready. Whether reallocating resources to other projects or temporarily downsizing, being prepared to pivot ensures you can adapt to changing circumstances swiftly.

USFCR's Pledge: Resilience at Its Core

At USFCR, resilience isn't just a buzzword; it's our guiding principle. It drives us to support our community, ensuring that we face challenges and rise above them.

Your Next Steps

Challenges are a given, but we can overcome anything with determination, teamwork, and expert guidance. And you can count on USFCR to be your reliable partner every step of the way. Remember, every shutdown has ended, but the lessons we learn shape our future.

So, are you prepared for what comes after November 17th? It's a question worth pondering as we navigate this 45-day reprieve.

To speak with a Registration and Contracting Specialist, Call (866) 216-5343

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Written by USFCR

US Federal Contractor Registration (USFCR) is the largest and most trusted full-service Federal consulting organization. USFCR also provides set-aside qualifications, including women-owned, veteran-owned, disadvantaged (8a), HUBZone, and other federal contracting services, technology, and training.