WASHINGTON — Two prominent industry trade organizations are encouraging their members to start preparing for a government shutdown that could occur at the end of the fiscal year.

Both the National Defense Industrial Association and the Professional Services Council are urging their companies this week to prepare and plan a strategy if Oct. 1 rolls around without a budget passed.

Two fiscal dangers await members of Congress when they return to Washington in September. The first is the debt limit, which needs to be expanded by Sept. 29. The second is the budget, which will expire with the end of the fiscal year.

It is expected, as with previous years, that the Congress will pass a continuing resolution through at least October. But the legislative chaos of the past few months, along with a May tweet from President Donald Trump that the U.S. “needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September,” means nothing can be taken for granted.

Although there has never been a government shutdown while a single party is holding the White House and Congress, David Berteau, PSC president and CEO, acknowledged during a webinar that there is no guarantee that this year will follow with the tradition. Because of this, it is essential that all contractors plan for setbacks, he said.

NDIA head Hawk Carlisle, meanwhile, said, “We are looking at helping all our members to be prepared in case the worst happens” and indicated more information would be coming down the pipeline in the future.

The Aerospace Industries Association, another major defense trade group, is not following that path, however.

“As a general rule, we do not offer guidance of that kind to our members,” said Dan Stohr, AIA’s director for communications. “Rather, we put our energy into advocating with Congress and the Administration to inform them of the serious negative impacts of a shutdown. We will be urging them to come to an agreement to keep the government open and running.”

Rachael Kalinyak with Federal Times contributed to this report.

Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.

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