President Obama just signed into law a bill averting the much discussed fiscal cliff. So we can all breathe a sigh of relief and get back to work as government contractors, right? Well, yes and no. First, the “no” side of the equation. Though bypassing a looming crisis, Congress postponed dealing with some of the key issues that spawned all this fiscal cliff stuff in the first place. Our leaders deferred the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts (known as “sequestration”) for two months. Further, they didn’t raise the debt ceiling even though the Treasury technically hit the $16.4 trillion limit Monday. These things we’ll need to be addressed just about the time the continuing budget resolution runs out and a new budget battle will be underway. Looks like more fireworks are in our future.
Now the “yes, we can get back to work” side of the equation. While an environment of uncertainty such as has been created by the fiscal cliff battle can certainly have a negative impact on programs, I can assure you the federal government isn’t going away anytime soon. It will still buy billions of dollars worth of stuff every day–hopefully some of it from you. The main point: uncertainty is nothing new to experienced contractors. There is always a cloud of precariousness hanging over government contractors: funding battles, continuing resolutions, political turnover, contract expirations, bid protests, etc. All of these serve to make government markets a bit rocky. It’s something you deal with and navigate, meanwhile being thankful for the good characteristics like long-term contracts, and a customer that pays religiously.
So, amidst all the turmoil and uncertainty, just do what you do best. Build relationships, solve problems, create value. Do it well and you’ll build bridges across this and any future “cliffs” that may lie ahead.