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News & Media

APLU Statement on Impending Partial Government Shutdown

December 21, 2018

Washington, DC – Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) President Peter McPherson today released a statement about the impending partial government shutdown that will go into place at midnight unless Congress and the White House reach an agreement.

“A partial government shutdown is not in the best interests of the nation. We urge Congress and the White House to quickly reach and stick with a bipartisan agreement that will avoid shuttering an array of critical federal agencies. APLU’s strong preference is that the remaining Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bills be finalized before the end of the year, but short of that, a continuing resolution to keep the government functioning is necessary. While continuing resolutions present a level of uncertainty and result in less activity at key agencies, shutdowns are even more damaging since activity ceases.

“A bipartisan framework for a package to fund the government into February was approved in the Senate this week, but quickly fell apart the next day. We are confident that if everyone works in good faith, a new agreement can come together as quickly as the last deal fell apart.

"A partial shutdown would have a real impact on public universities and their ability to conduct research in areas that are key to our economy, national security, and quality of life. The National Science Foundation, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, National Endowment for the Humanities, and NASA would be among the agencies that would shutter operations under a government closure.

“Federal agencies have yet to release guidance, but we know from past shutdowns that agencies won’t answer their phones or check their emails, and typically their websites go dark too. That leaves agency-funded scientists, including many at public research universities, in a lurch if they need to communicate with agency officials regarding an ongoing project. Additionally, most other important activity at the agencies will cease during the shutdown period as well, meaning there won’t be any reviews of grant applications for new research and any other scheduled meetings or funding disbursements will not occur.

“Congress and the White House must come together and fund the government without further delay.”

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