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By Grants Office, LLC on Thursday, November 05, 2015
    If the rumors hold true, 2016 could be a banner year for federal spending and funding levels for popular grant programs.       Remember the budget sequestration process in 2013 (See May 2013 “A Look at How the 2014 Budget Battle Impacts Grants”)?  Congress and President Obama agreed to institute 5% across-the-board cuts across all government spending, including defense.       The sequestration directly reduced funding levels for almost all federal grant programs.  Furthermore, these spending...
By Grants Office, LLC on Thursday, November 05, 2015
 “Last night I started thinking about this, and I woke up. I said my prayers as I always do, and I decided, you know, today’s the day I’m going to do this. As simple as that,” John Boehner, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives     On September 25, 2015, Congressman John Boehner announced he would be vacating the Speakership and retiring from Congress.  With those thirty-six mostly innocuous words, John Boehner set in motion a chain of events that shocked political pundits and the...
By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, September 30, 2015
It’s the beginning of autumn and the leaves are starting to turn colors.   Election-season is in full gear, accompanied by harsh rhetoric across the political spectrum and intrusive television ads interrupting your local news broadcast.     

September 30th marks the end of another federal fiscal year and a government shutdown looms unless both chambers of Congress and the President can come to a budget agreement.

Stop me if this sounds familiar… because it could be any year in the last half-decade that this was written.  February 2nd is still months away, but we have reached Groundhog Day (or would season be more appropriate?) once again in America when it comes to funding the federal government....
By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Some will argue that they would rather err on the side of providing too much information rather than the alternative, but in the context of a grant proposal, the key to success is to find the sweet spot, or the bottom of the pendulum swing.  Since most people understand the perils of providing too little information, the focus of this month’s column is on avoiding the pitfalls of doing the opposite.
By Grants Office, LLC on Tuesday, May 28, 2013

At this time in 2012, it was pretty clear that CMS was not thrilled with the process of, or response to, the Health Care Innovation Challenge, and it would ultimately be a one-and-done funding opportunity.  However, if you were paying close attention during the first round, the messaging from CMS has been anything but consistent.

By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May the finger-pointing and intense partisan rhetoric commence!  Shortly after finally passing a continuing resolution to fund the government through the rest of fiscal year 2013 (which ends September 30th), both chambers of Congress went to work on a budget for 2014.   Recent history suggests that having a federal budget in place by the start of the fiscal year is a long shot.  The truth is that the federal government has not passed an actual budget bill, nevermind an on-time one, since April 2009.  Instead, we have seen a long line of continuing resolutions, or temporary stopgap measures that extend funding in an effort to avoid government shutdowns.  While these resolutions keep funds flowing, they wreak havoc on the ability of federal agencies to effectively plan their grant programming and financial obligations for the year.  That uncertainty amongst federal agencies trickles all the way down to public and non-profit organizations that rely on federal grant funds to fund their programs and initiatives.

By Grants Office, LLC on Tuesday, January 15, 2013

As predicted, the federal government was able to bypass a complete catastrophe and avoided taking the United States down the fiscal cliff.  Unfortunately, when it comes to planning for grant programs likely to be available over the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013, we are left with the status quo of continued uncertainty.  In fact, besides extending and making permanent the Bush Era tax cuts for the majority of Americans, the fiscal cliff deal essentially punted every other major impending decision to March 2013.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell alludes to three major impending financial crises that converge in March...

By Grants Office, LLC on Friday, December 14, 2012

The President proposes $1.6 billion in new tax revenue, extending payroll tax cut, $50 billion of spending on infrastructure projects and complete executive control of the debt ceiling borrowing limit.  In addition, the President's proposal called for $400-600 billion in spending cuts that are not completely delineated.

By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, November 19, 2012

Much has been made about the impending doom associated with the automatic spending cuts (sequestration) and expiration of the tax rates established during the George W. Bush Presidency.  All the pundits point to the likelihood of a second recession if politicians in Washington allow the country to go "off the cliff".  Sequestration alone will initiate $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts across the entire budget, which means every sector from education and healthcare to defense spending will be effected.  The measure was put in place because it is not palatable to any politician, Democrat or Republican, to see such blanket cuts in discretionary spending.  The idea was to give Congress and the President time to come to a long-term agreement on deficit reduction.

By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, August 15, 2011

Two years after the onset of the Great Recession, states are still facing monumental fiscal challenges. Brought on by an unfortunate combination of poor budgetary management skills, the worst recession in decades, and growing demand for services and entitlements, it seems most of the states are united by only one thing - red ink.

By Grants Office, LLC on Friday, July 15, 2011

The United States currently faces twin economic challenges - growing the national economy (more specifically, lowering the unemployment rate) and shrinking the national debt. However, if you were to listen solely to the rhetoric and heated exchanges taking place in Washington, you could be forgiven for thinking our only problem is debt, debt, and more debt. The over 14 million individuals who remain without a job have become a tangential issue to the ongoing debate over debt.

By Grants Office, LLC on Friday, July 15, 2011

Ever since last November, when Republicans retook the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the G.O.P. has successfully focused the national policy agenda almost entirely on debt and deficits.

By Grants Office, LLC on Sunday, May 15, 2011

The "Arab Spring" of revolutions and demonstrations across the Middle East began December 17, 2010 when street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi lit himself on fire in protest of political oppression. Since Bouazizi's self-immolation, two long-standing dictators, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunsia, and Hosni Mubarak of Egypt have been ousted, a civil war compelling international involvement has erupted in Libya, and brutal crackdowns continue across the increasingly volatile region.

By Grants Office, LLC on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

At the heart of the debates in Washington and in state capitals across the country is the ongoing crisis in public finance as politicians, unions, lobbyists, policy wonks, and others debate just what it will take to align revenues to outlays. With the 111th Congress having left Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 appropriations unfinished, it remains up to the 112th Congress not only to finish the FY2011 spending bills but also begin work on the budget for FY2012.

By Grants Office, LLC on Saturday, January 15, 2011

Many grantseeking organizations can attest all too well to former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neil's famous quote that "all politics is local." For many public agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, and other organizations, the decisions made at the state and federal levels extend far beyond their immediate influence or control, yet ultimately impact them the most. The annual budget and appropriations processes at the Federal level exemplify O'Neil's point, as the work conducted with respect to each significantly affects the opportunities, challenges, and prospects for local grantseekers.

By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Earmark spending, the direct appropriation of federal funds to a specified recipient, is paradoxically one of the most beloved and abhorred traditions in American politics. After all, one legislator's definition of pork barrel spending is another's much-needed job-saving investment - opposing views shared just as often among constituents as well.

By Grants Office, LLC on Wednesday, December 15, 2010

With many state budgets in the red, funding is not always easy to find. Program funding has been cut drastically, and in many instances, funding is not even being directed toward new grant recipients but towards continuation grants. There doesn't seem to be much to look forward too, but there are still programs at the state level that grantseekers may find helpful, if not as fruitful, as they have been in the past.

By Grants Office, LLC on Monday, November 15, 2010

It has been two years of high price-tag legislation, including the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the upcoming debate over the extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. Given these kinds of historic legislation, Americans are experiencing something of a national sticker shock and demands for deficit reduction continue to grow. All of this is hardly auspicious news from the vantage point of grantseekers.

By Grants Office, LLC on Tuesday, June 15, 2010

For grantseekers, writers, and experts, the closest thing to a "Coming Attractions" notification any of us enjoys is the congressional calendar, as the life of any federal grant program begins with a bill. The same "I'm Just a Bill" from the popular School House Rock cartoons isn't just a lesson in U.S. civics, it's the starting point for some of the most anticipated funding of the year.

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