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Cliff Avoided, But…

While US politicians have come to a deal to prevent the so-called fiscal cliff, that resolution "keeps researchers on tenterhooks" by delaying the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration for two months, to the beginning of March, Nature reports. Such cuts would include an 8 percent reduction in funding for non-defense spending, and could lead to a decrease in the federal research and development budget of $57.5 billion over five years, Nature adds.

"The bill isn't ideal," Eleanor Dehoney, the vice president of public policy at the science-advocacy organization Research!America, tells Nature. "But it does give advocates more time to convince policy-makers that cutting the US investment in R&D is counterproductive."

The White House has said that it wants to protect research, ScienceInsider adds, noting that President Barack Obama said, upon the passage of this new legislation, that "we can't keep cutting things like basic research and new technology and still expect to succeed in a 21st century economy."

Like before, if Congress can come up with other ways to save the amount of money sequestration would cut, it can be avoided, though Nature notes that this new deadline will come up at nearly the same time as when Congress has to work on the overall federal budget.