The government shutdown, now in its third week, has had considerable impacts on the world of science, beyond the science activities that federal agencies perform themselves. FierceGovernment spoke with Matt Hourihan of the American Association for the Advancement of Science about the challenges facing scientists and researchers as a result of the shutdown and the overall fiscal climate.
After House Republican leadership made another failed attempt to pass their own bill, Senate leaders on both sides met again to come up with a plan to reopen the government and raise the debt limit. The Senate plan would set funding at $986 billion and reopen the government until Jan. 15, Politico reports. The debt ceiling would be raised until Feb. 7 and a formal bicameral conference committee would have until Dec. 13 to negotiate a larger-scale budget deal.
Arizona, Colorado, New York, South Dakota and Utah agreed to donate funds to the National Park Service so its employees can reopen and manage nationals parks in those states. Utah committed $1.7 million, by far the most of the five states, to reopen eight national parks in the state from Oct. 11 through Oct. 20.
If sequestration cuts continue, they could devastate military readiness and dramatically slow down modernization spending, an Oct. 11 Bipartisan Policy Center report says. The report says the full brunt of sequestration cuts hasn't hit yet, but sequestration cuts will compromise force readiness.
With the government shutdown moves through day 15, the federal workforce is still in flux and Office of Personnel Management guidance says furloughed workers will not accrue sick leave and vacation during the shutdown.
Total known and unclassified federal information technology spending will hover around $70 billion annually through fiscal 2019 when measured in today's dollars, predicts the TechAmerica Foundation in its annual near-term forecast. The real-dollar stagnation in IT spending predicted by the foundation will disrupt agency attempts at IT transformation, said Trey Hodgkins, head of TechAmerica's global public sector government affairs policy team.
Senate leaders on both sides reached a deal Monday night to raise the debt limit through Feb. 7 and finance the government through Jan. 15, but House Republicans decided Tuesday morning to push their own bill. The Senate agreement would also begin formal discussions on a long-term tax and spending plan that would need to be finished no later than Dec. 13.
The National Transportation Safety Board furloughed 383 of its 405 workers during the shutdown, which caused it to suspend more than 1,000 investigations, said Acting NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman at an Oct. 11 Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing.
With House Republicans sidelined in debt limit and funding talks, Senators from both parties continue to try to hammer out a long term solutions avert a financial crisis and reopen the government. On Saturday, Senate Democrats rejected a proposal by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), which would have raised the debt limit and funded the government for 6 months, but would have also locked in sequestration level funding.
House Republican leadership wants a short-term deal on the debt ceiling so it can start budget talks, but a group of Republican Senators are pushing for a long-term solution on both the debt limit and the government shutdown. House Republican leaders offered President Obama a plan late Thursday that would raise the debt limit for six weeks and start talks about reopening the government.