The federal government has been shut down for three weeks, and the government is hours away from a potentially disastrous default on its debt obligations. However, moments ago, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that will fund the government and raise the debt limit. The deal is the same as was reported earlier today. The Senate’s bill is expected to be voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives this evening. Should the bill pass, President Obama has said he will sign it immediately.
Even if the bill passes tonight as expected, it is not clear when federal agencies will reopen for business. However, once the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and other science funding agencies reopen, they will have quite a bit to do. Numerous study sections and grant deadlines that fell during the shutdown period will need to be rescheduled, grant applications submitted immediately before the shutdown will need to be processed and any glitches in payment systems will need to be rapidly resolved.
Follow the Policy Blotter to stay up to speed on how NIH, NSF and other agencies will cope with the effects of the government shutdown and what it means for scientists across the country.
UPDATE: The U.S. House has passed the Senate’s bill to open the government and raise the debt ceiling.