Pain spreads from shutdown

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Science  18 Jan 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6424, pp. 216
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6424.216

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The pain from the partial shutdown of the U.S. government—now in its record fourth week—is spreading throughout the research community. Scientists aren't getting paychecks. Experiments are being delayed or halted. Funding agencies are canceling dozens of meetings where thousands of funding proposals were going to be reviewed. A major graduate student fellowship program is at risk of crippling delays. Those are just some of the consequences of a funding impasse between Congress and President Donald Trump over spending $5.7 billion on a border wall, which has shuttered about one-quarter of the federal government. The shutdown also could soon paralyze federally funded scientific facilities and research centers that have been largely insulated from the pain because they are operated by contractors who get paid in advance, often on a quarterly basis. "But now that quarterly check may or may not be coming," says Benjamin Corb, public affairs director at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in Rockville, Maryland. "The uncertainty is creating a real mess."