"The US government entered a state of suspended animation on 1 October after Congress failed to agree on a budget for the next fiscal year, causing federal agencies — including those overseeing science policy and research — to shut down indefinitely."
"Most government scientists were ordered to stay at home, their offices and labs closed or run by a skeleton staff of ‘essential’ workers. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) stopped processing grants, some government websites were made inaccessible and many important research programmes were left hanging, potentially putting lives at risk in the case of some disease studies. Use of government telephones and e-mail was also suspended. The restrictions were still in place as Nature went to press.
The shutdown is the product of fierce political infighting in Congress, and comes as a cruel blow to researchers who were already struggling with successive rounds of federal cuts — including the 5.1% across-the-board ‘sequestration’ that took effect on 1 March."