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Shutdown in the US

The US federal government shut down early Saturday after lawmakers failed to come to a funding agreement. The Associated Press says that as the shutdown began over the weekend, "many of the immediate effects will be muted," but it adds that if the shutdown drags on, "[d]amage could build quickly."

While many key government functions will continue despite the shutdown — like air traffic control and the military, though without pay — others will cease, Vox adds.

The last US government shutdown was in 2013 and lasted 16 days. Vox notes that that shutdown curtailed work at the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This time around, NIH has furloughed about three-quarters of its staff, as has the CDC, while the Food and Drug Administration has placed 42 percent on leave, a separate Vox article notes. NIH will continue to operate its clinical center, but won't be processing grants.

Nature notes that, most worrisome to researchers, is the uncertainty as to when the government shutdown may end. "From a scientist's perspective it hurts. We get angry," the University of Utah's Bryan Jones, who has a grant under review at NIH, tells Nature. "But NIH is doing what they can do."

Lawmakers are still negotiating, the New York Times reports, but there is no agreement yet.