The federal government ceased many functions on October 1, beginning what is known as a “government shutdown.” October 1, 2013 was the first day of Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14) for the federal government. The House and Senate have not been able to reconcile their differences on the appropriations bills which fund the government for FY14. As a result many government functions stopped due to a gap in funding.
Over 800,000 federal government employees are estimated to be furloughed and agencies are running with only “essential” employees. Essential employees are those necessary to protect public health, safety, or property, as well as those to carry out constitutional responsibilities. Each agency determines who is considered essential. Learn more about what is affected by a government shutdown at http://www.usa.gov/shutdown.shtml.
The length of the shutdown is not yet determined. Congress will first have to put aside its differences and pass a spending bill before the president can sign the bill into law ending the shutdown.
During the government shutdown, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will continue patient care for current NIH Clinical Center patients, minimal support for ongoing protocols, animal care services to protect the health of NIH animals, and minimal staff to safeguard NIH facilities and infrastructure.
Until the shutdown is over, NIH will not admit new patients into clinical trials (unless deemed medically necessary by the NIH Director), or initiate new protocols. NIH will also discontinue some veterinary services.
NIH will not take any actions on grant applications or awards. For researchers with previously awarded grants, NIH states that "all work and activities performed under currently active NIH grant awards may continue," however there are "limits on performing many of the reporting requirements associated with NIH grant funding" and "the agency may not be able to respond to inquiries until appropriations are enacted." Grant applicants and grantees can find more information at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-13-126.html.