21 December 2018

Ensuring Science Progresses During a U.S. Government Shutdown

Posted by Chris McEntee

AGU is carefully watching the federal budget situation for a possible government shutdown. Currently, the United States government is funded through today, 21 December. In the case that the budget or a continuing resolution is not passed by Congress and approved by the President, there could be a government shutdown that would impact the work of NOAA, NASA, EPA, USGS, NSF, and other scientific agencies. AGU encourages our members who work for government agencies to add a personal email address to their member record if they have not done so already so we can reach them in the case of a government shutdown.

AGU urges budget negotiators in both Congress and the Administration to complete the FY2019 appropriations process rather than allow uncertainty and delay to hinder our nation’s scientific enterprise. In the event of a government shutdown this month, there could be wide-ranging negative effects on the scientific federal agencies that are essential to the nation’s economic stability, public health, and national security. A shutdown would interrupt potentially life-saving information and observations from the scientists working at these agencies.

Scientists employed by the U.S. government, as well as other government employees, play a crucial role in our society. They are responsible for conducting research, making observations, and analyzing data that benefit Americans and societies around the world. Scientists provide forecasts to protect communities from natural hazards, they develop breakthroughs to promote better public health at home and across borders, and they are responsible for many of the innovations that grow economies and bolster our national security.

Those who work for the U.S. Congress, Department of Energy, and the military, such as the U.S. Army and Navy, will not be affected by a shutdown as the bills that fund these branches of government have already been passed. The shutdown would also not apply to federal contractors and, in some cases, scientists and employees funded by federal grants would not be affected by a shutdown, either.

To avoid any repercussions of a government shutdown, AGU urges policy makers and government officials to protect funding for Earth and space science research.