A GAO report released today found that continuing resolutions and budget uncertainties create inefficiency in federal agencies.
The study found numerous examples of reduced productivity due to CRs and shutdowns between 2009 and 2014. It cited delayed contracts and grants, delayed hiring and additional work as a direct result of continuing resolutions and shutdowns within this time frame. A specific example within the report was a delayed contract for the Bureau of Prisons, which cost an additional $5.4 million, in 2009.
GAO also reported that the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated that the 2013 shutdown reduced real gross domestic product growth by 0.3 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2013 due to lost productivity of furloughed workers.
To mitigate losses, GAO suggests that Congress should include “legislative anomalies” in continuing resolutions, which would provide some agencies with different directions or funding. It also suggests that agencies should shift contracts and grant cycles to later in the fiscal year when they are less likely to be under a continuing resolution.