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Action Alert: Prevent a Government Shutdown

Ask Federal Politicians to Pass an FY 2011 Appropriations Bill

Congress and the President remain at odds over a funding bill for the current fiscal year. If an agreement is not reached by March 18th, it is likely that all or part of the Federal government will be shut down. This will have impacts for people everywhere. With respect to science programs, agencies will not be able to award or manage grants, and federal laboratories and research centers will be closed. The implications of a shutdown go far beyond the impacts to science. More significantly, it may mean disruptions to Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries. Food and safety inspections may be slowed or ceased. A shutdown could result in disruptions to government services we all rely on every day. Even further, a shutdown of the Federal government would undoubtedly have significant negative impacts on our economy.

Please take a few moments to ask your Representative, Senators, and the President to work together to pass a continuing resolution that will keep the government running past March 18th.

A Congressional Research Service report cites the following as some of the effects felt by the public when the government was closed in 1995 and 1996.

  • Health: New patients were not accepted into clinical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ceased disease surveillance (information about the spread of diseases, such as AIDS and flu, were unavailable); hotline calls to NIH concerning diseases were not answered; and toxic waste clean-up work at 609 sites stopped, resulting in 2,400 “Superfund” workers being sent home.
  • Law Enforcement/Public Safety: Delays occurred in the processing of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives applications by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; work on more than 3,500 bankruptcy cases was suspended; cancellation of the recruitment and testing of federal law-enforcement officials occurred, including the hiring of 400 border patrol agents; and delinquent child-support cases were suspended.
  • Parks/Museums/Monuments: Closure of 368 National Park Service sites (loss of 7 million visitors) occurred, with local communities near national parks losing an estimated $14.2 million per day in tourism revenues; and closure of national museums and monuments (estimated loss of 2 million visitors) occurred.
  • Visas/Passports: 20,000-30,000 applications by foreigners for visas went unprocessed each day; 200,000 U.S. applications for passports went unprocessed; and U.S. tourist industries and airlines sustained millions of dollars in losses.
  • American Veterans: Major curtailment in services, ranging from health and welfare to finance and travel was experienced.
  • Federal Contractors: Of $18 billion in Washington area contracts, $3.7 billion (over 20%) were managed by agencies affected by the funding lapse; the National Institute of Standards, was unable to issue a new standard for lights and lamps, scheduled to be effective January 1, 1996; and employees of federal contractors were furloughed without pay.

Please take a few moments to send a letter to your Representative, Senators, and the President. Ask them to put the nation before politics and to work together to reach agreement on and passage of a continuing resolution that keeps the government operating past March 18th.

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