In August 2020, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) amended its Guidance for Grants and Agreements set forth under 2 CFR (commonly referred to as the “Uniform Guidance”). The Covington team wrote about that amendment, and in particular, the implementation of Section 889 requirements, here. Now, almost three years later, OMB is requesting feedback in anticipation of further amending the Uniform Guidance.
Last month, OMB published a federal register notice announcing their plan to update the Uniform Guidance in December 2023 and soliciting input from individuals and organizations to help shape this proposed amendment. As part of this request for information, OMB shared the following goals for their forthcoming revision:
- Revise guidance to incorporate statutory requirements and administration priorities;
- Revise guidance to reduce agency and recipient burden;
- Clarify guidance by addressing sections that recipients or agencies have interpreted in different ways; and
- Clarify guidance by rewriting applicable sections in plain English, improving flow, and addressing inconsistent use of terms.
OMB has indicated that the revisions are not expected to result in a complete restructuring of the Uniform Guidance, and that OMB intends to maintain the overall structure of 2 CFR, including section numbers.
OMB invites organizations to provide examples of how they are impacted by particular sections of the Uniform Guidance, offer alternative language, and attach data, reports, articles and other source material demonstrating the benefits of their proposed alternative language. The federal register notice explains that while certain parts of the Uniform Guidance reflect statutory requirements and will not be updated, certain sections are specifically under consideration for amendment, including:
- Part 25: Universal Identifier and Systems for Award Managements;
- Part 170: Reporting Subaward and Executive Compensation Information; and
- Part 200: Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.
The comment submission portal accepts comments up to 5,000 characters in length with up to twenty supporting attachments. The current deadline for comment submission is March 13th, although at least two organizations have already submitted comments requesting an extension of this deadline.
In light of the struggles that many grant recipients have faced in recent years interpreting and applying the requirements in the Uniform Guidance, this request for input presents a welcome opportunity to convey areas for improvement to OMB. Grant recipients should consider whether there are areas of the Uniform Guidance that could be highlighted for revision to reduce administrative burden, eliminate inconsistencies, or clarify vague or ambiguous requirements. The Covington team will continue to monitor developments in this space and is available to assist with the comment submission process or to help with federal financial assistance compliance more generally.