Harmful Effects of the Federal Shutdown

From the WashPost: Disruptive, disappointing, chaotic: Shutdown upends scientific research

In research labs and field sites across the world, the week-long government shutdown has ground scientific progress to a halt. Thousands of scientists are among the hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors who must stay at home without pay. The furlough is expected to persist into the new year, which would mean a rocky start to 2019 for American science.

The partial shutdown, caused by President Trump’s rejection of a bipartisan spending deal that not allocate billions of dollars for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, curtailed scientific operations at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Agriculture Department, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Geological Survey. Furloughed government scientists are prohibited from checking on experiments, performing observations, collecting data, conducting tests or sharing their results.

If the budget impasse extends into the new year, scientists say, it will harm critical research. “Any shutdown of the federal government can disrupt or delay research projects, lead to uncertainty over new research, and reduce researcher access to agency data and infrastructure. . . . Continuing resolutions and short-term extensions are no way to run a government,” said Rush Holt, chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in a statement.

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