Shutdown hits scientists hard, White House says
October 12th, 2013
08:19 PM ET
11 months ago

Shutdown hits scientists hard, White House says

Washington (CNN) - Nearly two weeks into a government shutdown, cuts and furloughs are crippling much of America's scientific research.

The White House issued a statement Saturday detailing which programs were being hardest hit in an effort to drive home how damaging the shutdown has been.


"The federal government’s research agencies have been largely shuttered, with scientists sent home and projects shelved," it read. "There are five Nobel Prize-winning researchers currently working for the federal government, all of whom are world-renowned scientists and leaders in their field. Four of them are currently furloughed and unable to conduct their federal research on behalf of the American public due to the government shutdown."

Among the agencies mentioned, the National Science Foundation has had it the worst. Ninety-eight percent of its employees have been furloughed, and the organization has not issued any new scientific research grants. The NSF funds non-medical science and engineering research and education programs across the country.

The National Institutes of Health, the nation's top medical research facility, has lost almost three-quarters of its staff, forcing it to turn away most new patients from its studies. Funding for the NIH became a focal point of debate early in the shutdown when reports emerged that children with cancer were being denied entry into potentially life-saving studies.

The majority of Americans may feel the greatest impact, however, from the cuts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Two-thirds of its personnel have been sent home, and as flu season begins, influenza monitoring has been cut back, according to the White House.

Still, the CDC will continue its most important role in monitoring any imminent threats to the public's health, and most flu vaccines are produced by private companies.


Filed under: Government Shutdown • White House
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. nintex

    This news shouldn't bother the Tea Party people. After all, science is just made-up stuff. Who needs research into medicine, education, engineering, stuff like that? All we need is more religion in our schools, less of this book-learning nonsense and more of the good old dogma our grandfathers believed in. And a return to the 1950's. Or possibly the 1850's.

    October 12, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  2. Dan5404

    19,000 workers, many of them scientists, are losing their jobs at Los Almos and Sandia National Labs in New Mexico. Both labs do cutting edge research that has benefitted America in so many ways.

    October 12, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    As the right wing nut jobs push us toward becoming a third world country, you can bet that Somalia has no scientists either.

    October 12, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  4. buongiorno

    if the scientist werent in a chokehold all kinds of progress that has been developed BC would of been allowed in the public sector we would not be in such dire need of medical insurance but given the factors food additives corn syrup nitrates monsanto CHEMTRAILS geneticly modified foods uneeded xrays well you get the picture stem cell research

    October 12, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  5. Pat

    This article does not mention that the shutdown has also crippled NASA. NASA is a research agency. The critical research in Earth and Space science and aeronautics and technology have seeming been forgotten during this shutdown. Next time you fly look around. NASA had a hand in the development, design, and testing of all technology that has lead to the modern commercial jet. Every day–excluding the past two weeks–NASA's dedicated scientists and engineers are striving to make air travel safer and more efficient, understand the earth and universe, and make space travel possible for all.

    October 12, 2013 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  6. the hippies were right

    I saw a sign in a field today here in Texas that said, "Ted Cruz Is A Hero" on one side and on the other it said, "SHUT IT DOWN!". The idiot who put the sign there has no clue of the implications of a shut down other than it won't affect him, and that's as far as his pea brain can go with it. Tomorrow I will make my own sign and I will go stick it in the ground near his. Mine will have a big arrow pointing at his sign and mine will say, The idiot who lives here needs to turn off Fox "spews" and learn something! Wish me luck, the hillbillies around here love their guns!

    October 12, 2013 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  7. HenryMiller

    Whatever these people were working on will still be there next week.

    October 12, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  8. Robert westalrw

    Los Alamos National Lab will close next week. They are the only source of a critical radiopharmaceutical used to diagnose and treat heart patients. By the 21st, there will be none available, so good luck if you get a heart attack after that. It's likely that people will start to die when the supply runs out and will continue to die until production is restored. Thanks for the "principled" debate tea party. Thanks for coldly standing by while your countrymen die needlessly. Hope MANY of your kind need this drug and perish for your cause.

    October 12, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    Well, we all know how the baggers feel about science ... and reality ... and facts ... no wonder the baggers want to keep the government shut down.

    October 12, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  10. Name carl

    Shame on the GOP.

    October 12, 2013 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  11. Richard Long

    Could have used that $7 Billion that was pledged to Africa during the Obama Sequester.

    October 13, 2013 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  12. Thomas

    First of all , the Tea party dosn't believe in Science .

    The less people know , the better .

    October 13, 2013 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  13. donna

    You mean those global warmers are called "scientists"??

    Send them I.O.U.'s like last time.

    October 13, 2013 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  14. Aaa comment.

    But let's keep funding the terrorists in Syria!! And of course, we need to keep the congressional golf course and the congressional spa open!

    October 13, 2013 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  15. eddhur

    i thought most of the work was done by university's

    October 13, 2013 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
  16. John

    DOE national labs are shutting down too. Some, not all -t he largest ones this week.
    I was a meeting at my lab on Thursday, where we discussed what would happen if we got shut down by DOE. Apparently we have funds to stretch until January, barely, but if DOE decided to shut us down, it's game over.

    No one gets paid, no one has health benefits. We still get email, but all other services are shut down or made denied access. People, who would want to catch up on paperwork, would be unable to do so. People, who would want to do unpaid work outside the lab, are in the same situation – you cannot connect to any cloud services, you cannot check out any laptops (your own office laptops.)

    October 13, 2013 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  17. @RI_Roger

    After a week of spin, this administration still doesn't get it; take care of our veterans first, then decide your next priority. We are still hearing horror stories of veterans not getting health benefits, death benefits and pay. The President owns this and must take full responsibility for his administrations actions.

    October 13, 2013 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  18. nuclear mike

    Dear Scientists...welcome to the reality of America being broke by the National Debt...we are ALL broke now...

    October 13, 2013 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  19. NN

    A very stark reminder of how misplaced the priorities of America are, critical research to benefit all of mankind suspended while the merchants of destruction and waste in DoD still have carte blanche spending authority.

    October 13, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  20. G

    millionare farmers are still getting their loot,and the oil companies

    October 13, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  21. raveendren .k

    Due to economic crises USA need money and it has to control the expenditure in this juncture all scientific folks should see there scientific knowledge produce more income to them and to the America.

    October 13, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  22. Tampa Tim

    The Kochs have paid hundreds of millions to shut our country down. We need to show them how much we appreciate their efforts by never buying any more of their gasoline products. Let's avoid Chevron, Union, Union 76, and Conoco?

    October 13, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  23. Tampa Tim

    While we are avoiding Koch gasoline products, maybe we could include avoiding their Georgia Pacific products as well.

    October 13, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  24. jeebus loving bible humpers

    Since the GOP does not believe in Science, don't expect this to sway them.

    October 13, 2013 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  25. Wake up People!

    This is good news for the GOP as they don't believe in no stinkin' science.

    October 13, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
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