Final Waivers and Extensions of the Project Periods for the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services Training and Technical Assistance Center and the Vocational Rehabilitation Training Institute for the Preparation of Personnel in American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services, 52921-52923 [2020-19004]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 167 / Thursday, August 27, 2020 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Chapter III Final Waivers and Extensions of the Project Periods for the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services Training and Technical Assistance Center and the Vocational Rehabilitation Training Institute for the Preparation of Personnel in American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), Department of Education. ACTION: Final waivers and extensions of project periods. AGENCY: The U.S. Department of Education (Department) waives the requirements in the Education Department General Administrative Regulations that generally prohibit project periods exceeding five years and project period extensions involving the obligation of additional Federal funds. The waivers and extensions enable the current grantees under Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) numbers 84.250Z and 84.315C to receive funding for an additional budget period, not to exceed September 30, 2021. DATES: The waivers and extensions of the project periods are effective August 27, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jerry Elliott, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 5091, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202–1800. Telephone: 202–245–7335. Email: Jerry.Elliott@ed.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1–800–877– 8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES SUMMARY: Background The purpose of the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services Training and Technical Assistance Center (Center) is to provide training and technical assistance (TA) to governing bodies of Indian Tribes, or consortia of those governing bodies, that have received an American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services (AIVRS) grant under section 121(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Rehabilitation Act), to improve the delivery of vocational rehabilitation (VR) services to American Indians with disabilities. The purpose of the Vocational Rehabilitation Training Institute for the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:59 Aug 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 Preparation of Personnel in American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services (Institute) is to prepare AIVRS project personnel in VR, specifically the development of a structured program of training for AIVRS personnel with limited knowledge or experience in the VR field to improve the delivery of VR services to American Indians with disabilities. Taken together, the Center and the Institute comprise the total resources for the provision of training and TA to the AIVRS projects. In practice, the foundational academic training provided by the Institute compliments and provides a knowledge base for the more focused training and TA provided by the Center. For this reason, the Department has decided to combine the waivers and extensions for both programs into this single document. In fiscal year (FY) 2015, the Department published in the Federal Register notices inviting applications (NIAs) announcing the grant competition for the Center under CFDA 84.250Z and the Institute under CFDA 84.315C. The Department funded one cooperative agreement for each program for a 60-month period that will expire September 30, 2020. In early spring 2020, the effects of the COVID–19 pandemic began to be felt in the United States. American Indian reservations experienced and continue to experience a high rate of COVID–19 infections and have limited medical resources to treat those infected. Many of the AIVRS grantees across the country took actions to limit the spread of COVID–19 by requiring their nonessential personnel to work from home. AIVRS projects were confronted with the need to continue to provide VR services in a virtual environment and to continue to work with AIVRS project participants, service providers, educational and training resources, and employers in the new virtual environment. While there are some technology challenges on and near the reservations, the Center and the Institute responded to the challenge of assisting AIVRS projects in several ways. The Center surveyed AIVRS project needs and responded by providing to AIVRS project staff training in use of virtual platforms (including use of social media) for communication with VR participants, external service providers, and training institutions, and for internal AIVRS project purposes. The Center partnered with the Institute and the Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center to continue to develop training and TA content for virtual delivery. An important area of PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 52921 training and TA content was how to work virtually with AIVRS participants to proceed through the VR process in a virtual environment. The Center’s technical staff maintained ‘‘office hours’’ to provide one-on-one technical support to AIVRS projects trying to deliver VR services to applicants and eligible AIVRS project participants. The Institute conducted three virtual ‘‘coffee breaks’’ so far during COVID–19. The purpose of the coffee breaks is for AIVRS participants to learn more about a topic area or issue identified by AIVRS project staff that is relevant to providing VR services to American Indians with disabilities. Most recently, the Center provided training and TA to the AIVRS projects on safe ways to reopen, including the use of social distancing and continued use of virtual communication methods. Both the Institute and the Center have maintained or adapted their methods of training and TA provision to continue to provide virtual services to AIVRS project staff in all content areas. Recent increases in COVID–19 activity suggest that protective and safety measures will be required for some time and that maintenance of some of the new virtual ways of doing business will likely continue to be necessary. Upon award of a new grant, typically there is a period in which grantees are hiring new staff and developing their own resources and content capacities, which may take several months. Due to the impact of COVID–19 and the immediate needs of the beneficiaries of the Center and the Institute, the Department has decided to extend the existing Center and Institute programs. These existing grantees are providing direct training and TA related to operating in the current environment and, therefore, the Department has decided not to hold a new competition that could create a temporary reduction in the availability of the training and TA support at a time when such assistance is most needed. The Department is waiving the requirements in 34 CFR 75.250, which prohibit project periods exceeding five years, as well as waiving the requirements in 34 CFR 75.261(a) and (c)(2), which allow the extension of a project period only if the extension does not involve the obligation of additional Federal funds and extending the project periods of the grants. The waivers and extensions will enable the Department to provide additional funds to the Center under CFDA 84.250Z and to the Institute under CFDA 84.315C for an additional budget period, not to exceed September 30, 2021. E:\FR\FM\27AUR1.SGM 27AUR1 52922 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 167 / Thursday, August 27, 2020 / Rules and Regulations This action allows the Center and the Institute to request FY 2020 continuation funding. The funds for the Center will come from funds allotted under section 121(c)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act. Funds for the Institute will be provided from the funds allotted under section 21 of the Rehabilitation Act as in previous years. Decisions regarding continuation awards will be based on the program narratives, budgets, budget narratives, and program performance reports submitted by the grantees. Any activities to be carried out during the year of continuation awards would have to be consistent with, or be a logical extension of, the scope, goals, and objectives of each grantee’s application as approved following the FY 2015 CFDA 84.250Z and CFDA 84.315C competitions. The FY 2015 NIAs will continue to govern the projects during the extension year. The current Center and Institute grantees may request continuation awards in FY 2020 for budget periods through FY 2021. Final Waivers and Extensions For these reasons, the Department does not believe that it is in the public interest to hold a new competition for the Center, CFDA 84.250Z, or the Institute, CFDA 84.315C, in FY 2020. Extending the project period of the Center and the Institute, currently in their fifth year, will allow for more efficient use of the funding and avoid any interruption in services that might Grantee name Amount University of Northern Arizona (Center, Project Number: 250Z150002) ........................................................... Northwest Indian College (Institute, Project Number: H315C150002) .............................................................. $774,000 (section 121(c)(2) funds). $166,000 (section 21 funds). Waiver of Notice and Comment Rulemaking and Delayed Effective Date Under the Administrative Procedure Act khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES result from holding a new competition. The Department intends to hold a competition for a new Center under CFDA 84.250Z and a new project under 84.315C in FY 2021. The Department waives the requirements in 34 CFR 75.250, which prohibit project periods exceeding five years, as well as the requirements in 34 CFR 75.261(a) and (c)(2), which allow the extension of a project period only if the extension does not involve the obligation of additional Federal funds. This waiver allows the Department to issue a one-time continuation award in FY 2020 to the Center and the Institute, currently funded under CFDA 84.250Z and CFDA 84.315C, estimated as follows: Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553), the Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to comment on proposed regulations. However, the APA provides that an agency is not required to conduct notice and comment rulemaking when the agency, for good cause, finds that notice and public comment thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest (5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B)). Generally, the ‘‘good cause’’ exception to notice and comment rulemaking under the APA (5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B)) is to be ‘‘narrowly construed and only reluctantly countenanced.’’ Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. v. FERC, 969 F.2d 1141, 1144 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (quoting New Jersey v. EPA, 626 F.2d 1038, 1045 (D.C. Cir. 1980)). The exception excuses notice and comment in emergency situations, Am. Fed’n of Gov’t Employees v. Block, 655 F.2d 1153, 1156 (D.C. Cir. 1981), or where delay could result in serious harm. See Hawaii Helicopter Operators Ass’n v. FAA, 51 F.3d 212, 214 (9th Cir. 1995). The COVID–19 pandemic struck during the second half of FY 2020 and, as explained above, created a situation where the Tribes were dealing with overwhelmingly challenging circumstances. The Department determined that, with Tribal resources and attention devoted to addressing VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Aug 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 concerns created by the pandemic, the Tribes were in need of the training and TA resources available from the Center and the Institute, without interruption, in order for the Tribal AIVRS projects to continue to deliver services to Tribal members with disabilities. For this reason, it is necessary for the Department to extend the grants awarded under CFDA 84.250Z and CFDA 84.315C for an additional year. There is insufficient time left in FY 2020 to adopt these waivers and extensions of the project periods through notice and comment rulemaking and to make the continuation awards to the two expiring grants. The failure to extend the existing grants for an additional year would result in an interruption of essential services to the AIVRS projects and the American Indians with disabilities who rely upon them. In addition, the Department is unique among Federal agencies in that it must go through notice and comment rulemaking under the APA to make its grants. The exception in the APA exempting grants from notice and comment generally does not apply to the Department. 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(2); 20 U.S.C. 1232(d). In short, in the unusual circumstances here, notice and comment rulemaking is both impracticable and not in the public interest. The APA also requires that a substantive rule must be published at least 30 days before its effective date, except as otherwise provided for good cause (5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3)). It is crucial that the funded grantees under CFDA 84.250Z and CFDA 84.315C continue to PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 provide services through all of FY 2021. A delayed effective date would be contrary to public interest by prolonging uncertainty about the continuation of training and TA to AIVRS projects that provide VR services to American Indians with disabilities living on or near a reservation. Therefore, the Department waives the delayed effective date provision for good cause. Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification The Regulatory Flexibility Act does not apply to this rulemaking, because there is good cause to waive notice and comment rulemaking under 5 U.S.C. 553. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 These waivers and extensions of the project periods do not contain any information collection requirements. Intergovernmental Review These programs are not subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. You may access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations at www.govinfo.gov. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other E:\FR\FM\27AUR1.SGM 27AUR1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 167 / Thursday, August 27, 2020 / Rules and Regulations documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site. You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department. I. Background Mark Schultz, Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration, Delegated the authority to perform the functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. 2020–19004 Filed 8–25–20; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 42 CFR Parts 412 and 482 [CMS–1731–CN and CMS–1744–CN] RIN–0938–AU07 and 0938–AU31 Medicare Program; FY 2021 Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities Prospective Payment System (IPF PPS) and Special Requirements for Psychiatric Hospitals for Fiscal Year Beginning October 1, 2020 (FY 2021); Correction Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS. ACTION: Final rule; correction. AGENCY: In the August 4, 2020 issue of the Federal Register, we published a final rule entitled ‘‘FY 2021 Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities Prospective Payment System (IPF PPS) and Special Requirements for Psychiatric Hospitals for Fiscal Year Beginning October 1, 2020 (FY 2021)’’. The August 4, 2020 final rule updates the prospective payment rates, the outlier threshold, and the wage index for Medicare inpatient hospital services provided by Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities (IPF), which include psychiatric hospitals and excluded psychiatric units of an Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) hospital or critical access hospital. In addition, we adopted more recent Office of Management and Budget (OMB) statistical area delineations, and applied a 2-year transition for all providers negatively impacted by wage index changes. This khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:18 Aug 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 correction document corrects the statement of economic significance in the August 4, 2020 final rule. DATES: This correction is effective October 1, 2020. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The IPF Payment Policy mailbox at IPFPaymentPolicy@cms.hhs.gov for general information. Nicolas Brock, (410) 786–5148, for information regarding the statement of economic significance. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In FR Doc. 2020–16990 (85 FR 47042), the final rule entitled ‘‘FY 2021 Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities Prospective Payment System (IPF PPS) and Special Requirements for Psychiatric Hospitals for Fiscal Year Beginning October 1, 2020 (FY 2021)’’ (hereinafter referred to as the FY 2021 IPF PPS final rule) there was an error in the statement of economic significance and status as major under the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.). Based on an estimated total impact of $95 million in increased transfers from the federal government to IPF providers, we previously stated that the final rule was not economically significant under Executive Order (E.O.) 12866, and that the rule was not a major rule under the Congressional Review Act. However, the Office of Management and Budget designated this rule as economically significant under E.O. 12866 and major under the Congressional Review Act. We are correcting our previous statement in the August 4, 2020 final rule accordingly. This correction is effective October 1, 2020. II. Summary of Errors On page 47064, in the third column, the third full paragraph under B. Overall Impact should be replaced entirely. The entire paragraph stating: ‘‘We estimate that this rulemaking is not economically significant as measured by the $100 million threshold, and hence not a major rule under the Congressional Review Act. Accordingly, we have prepared a Regulatory Impact Analysis that to the best of our ability presents the costs and benefits of the rulemaking.’’ should be replaced with: ‘‘We estimate that the total impact of this final rule is close to the $100 million threshold. The Office of Management and Budget has designated this rule as economically significant under E.O. 12866 and a major rule under the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.). Accordingly, we PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 52923 have prepared a Regulatory Impact Analysis that to the best of our ability presents the costs and benefits of the rulemaking.’’ III. Waiver of Proposed Rulemaking and Delay in Effective Date We ordinarily publish a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register to provide a period for public comment before the provisions of a rule take effect in accordance with section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553(b)). However, we can waive this notice and comment procedure if the Secretary of the Department of Human Services finds, for good cause, that the notice and comment process is impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest, and incorporates a statement of the finding and the reasons therefore in the notice. This correction document does not constitute a rulemaking that would be subject to these requirements because it corrects only the statement of economic significance included in the FY 2021 IPF PPS final rule. The corrections contained in this document are consistent with, and do not make substantive changes to, the policies and payment methodologies that were adopted and subjected to notice and comment procedures in the FY 2021 IPF PPS final rule. Rather, the corrections made through this correction document are intended to ensure that the FY 2021 IPF PPS final rule accurately reflects OMB’s determination about its economic significance and major status under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Executive Order 12866 and CRA determinations are functions of the Office of Management and Budget, not the Department of Health and Human Services, and are not rules as defined by the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S. Code 551(4)). We ordinarily provide a 60-day delay in the effective date of final rules after the date they are issued, in accordance with the CRA (5 U.S.C. 801(a)(3)). However, section 808(2) of the CRA provides that, if an agency finds good cause that notice and public procedure are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest, the rule shall take effect at such time as the agency determines. Even if this were a rulemaking to which the delayed effective date requirement applied, we found, in the FY 2021 IPF PPS Final Rule (85 FR 47043), good cause to waive the 60-day delay in the effective date of the IPF PPS final rule. In the final rule, we explained that, due to CMS prioritizing efforts in support of containing and combatting the COVID– E:\FR\FM\27AUR1.SGM 27AUR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 167 (Thursday, August 27, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 52921-52923]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-19004]



[[Page 52921]]

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Chapter III


Final Waivers and Extensions of the Project Periods for the 
American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services Training and 
Technical Assistance Center and the Vocational Rehabilitation Training 
Institute for the Preparation of Personnel in American Indian 
Vocational Rehabilitation Services

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services 
(OSERS), Department of Education.

ACTION: Final waivers and extensions of project periods.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Education (Department) waives the 
requirements in the Education Department General Administrative 
Regulations that generally prohibit project periods exceeding five 
years and project period extensions involving the obligation of 
additional Federal funds. The waivers and extensions enable the current 
grantees under Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) numbers 
84.250Z and 84.315C to receive funding for an additional budget period, 
not to exceed September 30, 2021.

DATES: The waivers and extensions of the project periods are effective 
August 27, 2020.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jerry Elliott, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW, Room 5091, Potomac Center Plaza, 
Washington, DC 20202-1800. Telephone: 202-245-7335. Email: 
[email protected].
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    The purpose of the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation 
Services Training and Technical Assistance Center (Center) is to 
provide training and technical assistance (TA) to governing bodies of 
Indian Tribes, or consortia of those governing bodies, that have 
received an American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services (AIVRS) 
grant under section 121(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as 
amended (Rehabilitation Act), to improve the delivery of vocational 
rehabilitation (VR) services to American Indians with disabilities.
    The purpose of the Vocational Rehabilitation Training Institute for 
the Preparation of Personnel in American Indian Vocational 
Rehabilitation Services (Institute) is to prepare AIVRS project 
personnel in VR, specifically the development of a structured program 
of training for AIVRS personnel with limited knowledge or experience in 
the VR field to improve the delivery of VR services to American Indians 
with disabilities.
    Taken together, the Center and the Institute comprise the total 
resources for the provision of training and TA to the AIVRS projects. 
In practice, the foundational academic training provided by the 
Institute compliments and provides a knowledge base for the more 
focused training and TA provided by the Center. For this reason, the 
Department has decided to combine the waivers and extensions for both 
programs into this single document.
    In fiscal year (FY) 2015, the Department published in the Federal 
Register notices inviting applications (NIAs) announcing the grant 
competition for the Center under CFDA 84.250Z and the Institute under 
CFDA 84.315C. The Department funded one cooperative agreement for each 
program for a 60-month period that will expire September 30, 2020.
    In early spring 2020, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began to 
be felt in the United States. American Indian reservations experienced 
and continue to experience a high rate of COVID-19 infections and have 
limited medical resources to treat those infected. Many of the AIVRS 
grantees across the country took actions to limit the spread of COVID-
19 by requiring their nonessential personnel to work from home. AIVRS 
projects were confronted with the need to continue to provide VR 
services in a virtual environment and to continue to work with AIVRS 
project participants, service providers, educational and training 
resources, and employers in the new virtual environment.
    While there are some technology challenges on and near the 
reservations, the Center and the Institute responded to the challenge 
of assisting AIVRS projects in several ways. The Center surveyed AIVRS 
project needs and responded by providing to AIVRS project staff 
training in use of virtual platforms (including use of social media) 
for communication with VR participants, external service providers, and 
training institutions, and for internal AIVRS project purposes. The 
Center partnered with the Institute and the Workforce Innovation 
Technical Assistance Center to continue to develop training and TA 
content for virtual delivery. An important area of training and TA 
content was how to work virtually with AIVRS participants to proceed 
through the VR process in a virtual environment. The Center's technical 
staff maintained ``office hours'' to provide one-on-one technical 
support to AIVRS projects trying to deliver VR services to applicants 
and eligible AIVRS project participants. The Institute conducted three 
virtual ``coffee breaks'' so far during COVID-19. The purpose of the 
coffee breaks is for AIVRS participants to learn more about a topic 
area or issue identified by AIVRS project staff that is relevant to 
providing VR services to American Indians with disabilities. Most 
recently, the Center provided training and TA to the AIVRS projects on 
safe ways to reopen, including the use of social distancing and 
continued use of virtual communication methods. Both the Institute and 
the Center have maintained or adapted their methods of training and TA 
provision to continue to provide virtual services to AIVRS project 
staff in all content areas. Recent increases in COVID-19 activity 
suggest that protective and safety measures will be required for some 
time and that maintenance of some of the new virtual ways of doing 
business will likely continue to be necessary.
    Upon award of a new grant, typically there is a period in which 
grantees are hiring new staff and developing their own resources and 
content capacities, which may take several months. Due to the impact of 
COVID-19 and the immediate needs of the beneficiaries of the Center and 
the Institute, the Department has decided to extend the existing Center 
and Institute programs. These existing grantees are providing direct 
training and TA related to operating in the current environment and, 
therefore, the Department has decided not to hold a new competition 
that could create a temporary reduction in the availability of the 
training and TA support at a time when such assistance is most needed.
    The Department is waiving the requirements in 34 CFR 75.250, which 
prohibit project periods exceeding five years, as well as waiving the 
requirements in 34 CFR 75.261(a) and (c)(2), which allow the extension 
of a project period only if the extension does not involve the 
obligation of additional Federal funds and extending the project 
periods of the grants. The waivers and extensions will enable the 
Department to provide additional funds to the Center under CFDA 84.250Z 
and to the Institute under CFDA 84.315C for an additional budget 
period, not to exceed September 30, 2021.

[[Page 52922]]

    This action allows the Center and the Institute to request FY 2020 
continuation funding. The funds for the Center will come from funds 
allotted under section 121(c)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act. Funds for 
the Institute will be provided from the funds allotted under section 21 
of the Rehabilitation Act as in previous years. Decisions regarding 
continuation awards will be based on the program narratives, budgets, 
budget narratives, and program performance reports submitted by the 
grantees. Any activities to be carried out during the year of 
continuation awards would have to be consistent with, or be a logical 
extension of, the scope, goals, and objectives of each grantee's 
application as approved following the FY 2015 CFDA 84.250Z and CFDA 
84.315C competitions. The FY 2015 NIAs will continue to govern the 
projects during the extension year. The current Center and Institute 
grantees may request continuation awards in FY 2020 for budget periods 
through FY 2021.

Final Waivers and Extensions

    For these reasons, the Department does not believe that it is in 
the public interest to hold a new competition for the Center, CFDA 
84.250Z, or the Institute, CFDA 84.315C, in FY 2020. Extending the 
project period of the Center and the Institute, currently in their 
fifth year, will allow for more efficient use of the funding and avoid 
any interruption in services that might result from holding a new 
competition. The Department intends to hold a competition for a new 
Center under CFDA 84.250Z and a new project under 84.315C in FY 2021.
    The Department waives the requirements in 34 CFR 75.250, which 
prohibit project periods exceeding five years, as well as the 
requirements in 34 CFR 75.261(a) and (c)(2), which allow the extension 
of a project period only if the extension does not involve the 
obligation of additional Federal funds. This waiver allows the 
Department to issue a one-time continuation award in FY 2020 to the 
Center and the Institute, currently funded under CFDA 84.250Z and CFDA 
84.315C, estimated as follows:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Grantee name                            Amount
------------------------------------------------------------------------
University of Northern Arizona (Center,      $774,000 (section 121(c)(2)
 Project Number: 250Z150002).                 funds).
Northwest Indian College (Institute,         $166,000 (section 21
 Project Number: H315C150002).                funds).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Waiver of Notice and Comment Rulemaking and Delayed Effective Date 
Under the Administrative Procedure Act

    Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (5 U.S.C. 553), the 
Department generally offers interested parties the opportunity to 
comment on proposed regulations. However, the APA provides that an 
agency is not required to conduct notice and comment rulemaking when 
the agency, for good cause, finds that notice and public comment 
thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public 
interest (5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B)).
    Generally, the ``good cause'' exception to notice and comment 
rulemaking under the APA (5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B)) is to be ``narrowly 
construed and only reluctantly countenanced.'' Tennessee Gas Pipeline 
Co. v. FERC, 969 F.2d 1141, 1144 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (quoting New Jersey 
v. EPA, 626 F.2d 1038, 1045 (D.C. Cir. 1980)). The exception excuses 
notice and comment in emergency situations, Am. Fed'n of Gov't 
Employees v. Block, 655 F.2d 1153, 1156 (D.C. Cir. 1981), or where 
delay could result in serious harm. See Hawaii Helicopter Operators 
Ass'n v. FAA, 51 F.3d 212, 214 (9th Cir. 1995).
    The COVID-19 pandemic struck during the second half of FY 2020 and, 
as explained above, created a situation where the Tribes were dealing 
with overwhelmingly challenging circumstances. The Department 
determined that, with Tribal resources and attention devoted to 
addressing concerns created by the pandemic, the Tribes were in need of 
the training and TA resources available from the Center and the 
Institute, without interruption, in order for the Tribal AIVRS projects 
to continue to deliver services to Tribal members with disabilities. 
For this reason, it is necessary for the Department to extend the 
grants awarded under CFDA 84.250Z and CFDA 84.315C for an additional 
year. There is insufficient time left in FY 2020 to adopt these waivers 
and extensions of the project periods through notice and comment 
rulemaking and to make the continuation awards to the two expiring 
grants. The failure to extend the existing grants for an additional 
year would result in an interruption of essential services to the AIVRS 
projects and the American Indians with disabilities who rely upon them. 
In addition, the Department is unique among Federal agencies in that it 
must go through notice and comment rulemaking under the APA to make its 
grants. The exception in the APA exempting grants from notice and 
comment generally does not apply to the Department. 5 U.S.C. 553(a)(2); 
20 U.S.C. 1232(d). In short, in the unusual circumstances here, notice 
and comment rulemaking is both impracticable and not in the public 
interest.
    The APA also requires that a substantive rule must be published at 
least 30 days before its effective date, except as otherwise provided 
for good cause (5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3)). It is crucial that the funded 
grantees under CFDA 84.250Z and CFDA 84.315C continue to provide 
services through all of FY 2021. A delayed effective date would be 
contrary to public interest by prolonging uncertainty about the 
continuation of training and TA to AIVRS projects that provide VR 
services to American Indians with disabilities living on or near a 
reservation. Therefore, the Department waives the delayed effective 
date provision for good cause.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act does not apply to this rulemaking, 
because there is good cause to waive notice and comment rulemaking 
under 5 U.S.C. 553.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    These waivers and extensions of the project periods do not contain 
any information collection requirements.

Intergovernmental Review

    These programs are not subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 CFR part 79.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the contact person listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this 
document is the document published in the Federal Register. You may 
access the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of 
Federal Regulations at www.govinfo.gov. At this site you can view this 
document, as well as all other

[[Page 52923]]

documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text 
or Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe 
Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

Mark Schultz,
Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration, Delegated the 
authority to perform the functions and duties of the Assistant 
Secretary for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.
[FR Doc. 2020-19004 Filed 8-25-20; 4:15 pm]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P