Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

If There’s a Budget Deal, Will Things Get Back to Normal?

ARCHIVES
Susan Walsh/AP

That’s a question I found myself asking while reading recent reports about a potential budget deal. During the shutdown, things definitely didn’t feel normal and I didn’t think they’d get back there again. But if we do get a two-year budget deal, I think a lot of us will greet it with a huge sigh of relief. Maybe federal managers and contractors can actually do some future planning. A potential deal provides some confidence that we know the top-level budget numbers, and it will minimize the chances of future shutdowns.

Dare I say it? We might even see the return of a rare species in Washington these days ‑‑ an appropriations bill that isn’t a continuing resolution or even an omnibus bill.

I’m happy to contemplate those scenarios, and a deal is nothing but a good thing. But I think at least three things won’t change:

  1. Lack of direction. We are still going to have trouble getting any policy decisions out of a deadlocked Congress. It’s tough to tackle new problems without some sort of policy framework. Without congressional action, can we fix the government procurement and information technology system in the wake of a tough Obamacare rollout? Can we make progress in dozens of other areas where authorization bills and other legislation has been held up for years?
  2. Tight budgets. We’re still going to be in a resource-constrained environment. The sequester might be suspended, but we are not entering a period of growth. Budgets will be flat for the foreseeable future, and that means taking on new problems will be all the harder.
  3. Scrutiny. The level of scrutiny from Congress, outside groups and others isn’t going to lessen. The gotcha atmosphere in Washington isn’t going away. We’re already on to the 2014 mid-term election cycle, and I don’t know how many articles I’ve seen about 2016.

So, I see a moderately better environment where at least we can all catch our breath for a bit, but nothing transformational. We still need to tackle some big problems and make progress on complex issues. But, at least for now, it isn’t getting worse.

Alan Pentz is a partner and co-founder of Corner Alliance, a Washington-based consulting firm that focuses on helping government clients build strategies to stay relevant in and capitalize on today's shifting technological landscape. He is a former Capitol Hill staffer and holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Contact him at apentz@corneralliance.com, or follow him on Twitter at @apentz

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.