With GOP leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives showing little progress in moving a stopgap funding bill to prevent a government shutdown, security industry stakeholders are considering the ramifications of such a development.
“The extent of a shutdown’s impact on an individual business depends on factors such as the duration of the shutdown, the agencies and programs left unfunded and each company’s unique reliance on federal government support and contracts,” Colby Williams, associate director, government relations, Security Industry Association (SIA), wrote in a blog.
Government funding expires Oct. 1, the start of the federal budget year. A shutdown will effectively begin at 12:01 a.m. EDT if Congress is not able to pass a funding plan that President Biden signs into law. Lawmakers are supposed to pass 12 different spending bills to fund agencies across the government, but the process is time-consuming. They often resort to passing a temporary extension, called a continuing resolution (CR), to allow the government to keep operating.
When no funding legislation is enacted, federal agencies have to stop all non-essential work and will not send paychecks as long as the shutdown lasts. Among potential ways in which a government shutdown could broadly impact the security industry, Williams pointed to contract delays.
“Security companies that contract with the federal government for services such as cybersecurity and physical security could face delays in contract payments, gaps in service and communication with federal agencies and even disruptions with implementing new or existing projects,” Williams said. This could create not only a strain on the financial resources of the company but also result in gaps in the integrity of security services and products, he continued.
Among other examples noted by Williams, agencies that play a crucial role in setting and enforcing security standards and procedures are also expected to be impacted. A disruption can result in an inability to carry out regulatory oversight, halt access to federal permits and loans and could impact the ability for security companies reliant on federal security standards, projects and procedures to operate.
“From contract delays and uncertainty to security vulnerabilities and disruptions in regulatory oversight, the consequences of a shutdown extend far beyond the immediate federal workforce and could affect the stability, integrity and effectiveness of the security industry,” Williams said.
To read the full blog, go here.