Counties have expressed concerns about what the current debt ceiling negotiations and possible ARPA funding claw back on unspent funds might mean for resources they have received. The bill specifically targets unobligated funds, not unspent funds. If counties have already received funds from the federal government, those funds are unaffected since they have already been released (obligated) to counties by the federal government.
As defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) document titled “Budget Concepts,” budget authority, obligations, and outlays serve as the primary benchmarks and measures. When Congress enacts laws that grant agencies spending authority, known as budget authority, agencies must obtain OMB's approval for their spending plans before utilizing these resources or obligating the budget authority. Once the spending plans are approved, agencies can enter into binding agreements to purchase goods, services, or make grants and other payments. These agreements are recorded as obligations of the United States and are subtracted from the agency's available budgetary resources.
Therefore, as an entity for a county that has unallocated funds, it is essential to be aware that the House-passed debt limit bill does not directly impact these funds. However, it is advisable to have a clear understanding of the status of the funds, ensuring they have been properly obligated by the federal government to the county.