Government Shutdown Persists Over FY 2014 Spending Stalemate

As of 9:00 a.m., October 11, 2013

Federal Government Shuts Down
Effective 12:01 a.m. October 1, most non-essential federal government operations shut down after Congressional leaders were unable to reach an agreement on Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 spending.

House and Senate leaders met separately with President Obama and Administration officials yesterday in an effort to jump start stalled FY 2014 spending negotiations. Although the meeting did not result in a deal, they were described as productive, and staff discussions are continuing.

House Republicans are moving forward with a proposal to tie a short-term debt ceiling extension with an agreement to enter broader budget negotiations. It is becoming increasingly likely that reaching a deal on the debt ceiling, which the government will exceed within the next week, will be the first step to finding a path forward to reopen the federal government.  President Obama has signaled he is open to a short-term debt ceiling extension but has maintained that he does not favor long-term budget discussions until Congress votes to end the shutdown.

Staff discussions and negotiations will continue throughout the weekend.

The impact of a government shutdown on programs important to the Parkinson's community is immediate. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have to delay new research and clinical trials. The FDA has been able to continue the review process of some drug and medical device applications through user fees collected prior to October 1 but with fewer workers on hand to conduct the reviews.

Furloughs continue for hundreds of thousands of federal workers, government response time to public health concerns like the recent salmonella outbreak is hampered, and the national economy may lose approximately $50 billion in economic activity if the shutdown stretches until the end of the month.

The shutdown also impacts people living with Parkinson's and other chronic diseases right at home. While Medicare and Social Security benefits and reimbursements will still be paid, payments will likely be slowed due to fewer staff available to handle the workload. New Medicare and Social Security applications will likely not be processed until after a shutdown ends. Further, the shutdown has resulted in the indefinite delay of Medicaid reimbursement payments to public health centers in Washington, D.C., and similar delays may soon be felt in other areas across the country.

The impact of a shutdown is further complicated by the realities of sequestration. Medical research funding has already faced a tight squeeze in 2013 with the NIH being cut by over $1.55 billion and the FDA losing over $209 million. Our country's medical research infrastructure simply cannot afford any more delays or cuts to critical resources.

What You Can Do
We urge you to call the offices of your Members of Congress today and tell them to find a solution to FY 2014 spending that ends the government shutdown, protects critical funding for medical research, and ends sequestration.



Date originally posted: September 30, 2013.