It’s easy to see the Notice of Award, the official, legally binding issuance of a grant, as the beginning of something – for instance, a program, study, or project that will benefit the greater public.
In fact, before the awarding of a grant, an incredible amount of time and effort has gone into shaping it.
Between the halls of Congress and the hands of award recipients, there is a complex web of laws, regulations, policies, and guidance.
Committees have met. Members of Congress have voted. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued guidance. Agencies have drafted funding opportunity announcements, vetted applications, and defined reporting requirements.
All this before award recipients sign on the dotted line and commit to carry out the full terms and conditions of the grant.
The latest change to federal grant policy, the Grants Oversight and New Efficiency (GONE) Act, was signed into law on January 28, 2016.
It aims to close out expired grants, requiring the OMB to instruct each agency, in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to submit to Congress and HHS by December 31, 2017, a report that:
- Lists each federal grant award held by such agency
- Provides the total number of federal grant awards, including the number of grants by time period of expiration, the number with zero dollar balances, and the number with undisbursed balances
- Describes the challenges leading to delays in grant closeout
- Explains, for the 30 oldest federal grant awards, why each has not been closed out
The covered grants are those within an agency’s cash payment management system that have been expired for two or more years and have not been closed out. No later than one year after the head of an agency submits its report, the agency head will notify HHS whether the agency has closed out the covered grants discussed in its report. HHS is required to compile this information and provide it to Congress.
For a high-level review of key laws determining federal grant policy, visit the Grant Policies section of the Grants.gov Grants Learning Center.