February 1, 2011
I know that many of you are asking whether anything has happened since the All Hands meetings a month ago. In fact, little has materially changed.
For something like a budget bill to become law, it requires approval in the House of Representatives, in the Senate, and a final signature from the President. While some bills have been passed in the House, they did not pass the Senate, except for a series of Continuing Resolutions that have extended that status with interim funds through an extra few weeks.
The latest of the short-term measures comes to an end on April 8, one week from now. Congress may come up with a full-year bill, which the President could sign, or perhaps another short-term Continuing Resolution, or nothing. In the latter case, the government shuts down. However, that does not mean that we would shut the lab, at least not immediately. We have sufficient funds in hand to continue to function for a while.
We are into the planning of exactly how we would handle such a government shutdown. Of course, if that condition were to persist for a significant period, we would have to transition to a different status in which we would do the minimum to safely maintain the government's investment in the laboratory. An analogy might be what happens during the end of year shutdown.
Meanwhile, I and others have been meeting with our political leaders in Washington. On Tuesday this past week, we visited nine congressional offices. We explained the consequences of some of the dire measures being contemplated.
We are conscious that you are under considerable stress as a result of the uncertainty, and as soon as we can clarify anything, we will do so. Meanwhile, we appreciate very much your ongoing attention to the jobs at hand, and your concern for your own and your colleagues' safety.
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Submitted: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 - 2:00pm
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