Members of the White House staff are keeping President Barack Obama updated on the impact of the government shutdown on key federal agencies and programs.
Over the weekend, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough briefed Obama on the shutdown’s impact on the government’s research efforts, according to the White House.
“The federal government’s research agencies have been largely shuttered, with scientists sent home and projects shelved,” The White House said in a statement. 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.
Two-thirds of the staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been furloughed, and the agency has had to curtail its monitoring of flu outbreaks.
At the National Science Foundation, 98 percent of the staff has been furloughed and new scientific research grants have dried up.
The National Institutes of Health has furloughed nearly three-quarters of its staffers, and new patients have been turned away from clinical trials there.
(Click here for a list of more ways the shutdown has impacted federal agencies and programs).
Obama was also briefed on the cancellation of classes at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. While other service academies have had to scale back operations, the academy was forced to cancel all classes this week, because of nearly across-the-board furloughs of faculty and staff. The academy is staffed almost entirely by civilians.
The academy had already moved up its fall break, originally scheduled to begin Nov. 1, to Oct. 4. But as the shutdown heads into its third week without a deal to restore funding, the school was forced to close its doors. According to a notice on the academy’s website, all midshipmen will have to leave campus by the end of tomorrow.
Deal to reopen government coming?
News began circulating Monday afternoon of progress in bipartisan negotiations to end the two-week shutdown. Obama called congressional leaders to the White House Monday afternoon to continue the negotiations.
But it won’t come soon enough for some federal-employee unions, who say feds have needlessly suffered severe financial hardships because of the shutdown.
“Some tell us that by next week they will not have the money to afford the gasoline it will take to drive to work,” American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox wrote in a letter to the President. “Others tell us they will not be able to afford to leave their children in day care so they can come to work. Many will be forced to choose between feeding their families and paying for transportation to their jobs.”