OMB’s ‘Fundamental Rewrite’ of UG Offers Clarifications, Relaxes Some Requirements

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has proposed substantial changes to the uniform guidance (UG) that would clarify multiple sections, relax certain prior approval requirements, and increase thresholds that trigger compliance requirements and limit cost recovery,[1] according to attorneys from Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP.

The changes—which the Biden administration characterized as “a fundamental rewrite” of the UG—will eliminate “obstacles to using funding for its intended purpose” and “will also allow recipients to focus on the people they serve rather than compliance work that does not improve performance,”[2] the administration said.

This is a major revision to the UG, and the rewrite contains multiple changes, said Ted Waters, managing partner of Feldesman Tucker. Many of the proposed changes would benefit grantees, but may pose potential problems, Waters and his colleagues explained in a recent webinar detailing the proposal.[3]

Comments on the proposed changes are due Dec. 4.

During the webinar, Nicole Bacon, also a partner at the firm, noted that OMB listed four major goals of the proposed revisions:

1. Incorporate statutory provisions and administrative priorities

2. Reduce agency and recipient burden

3. Clarify sections that recipients and agencies have interpreted differently

4. Rewrite applicable sections to include plain language (e.g., “recipient” and “subrecipient” rather than “non-federal entity”)

“These are policy changes and clarification,” Bacon said.

Waters, Bacon and their colleagues Scott Sheffler—a partner at Feldesman Tucker who specializes in counseling federal grant recipients—and Phillip Escoriaza—senior counsel in Feldesman Tucker’s Federal Grants and Health Law, Education Grants and Litigation practice groups—dissected the proposed changes to the UG and detailed them regulation section by section to the webinar audience.

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