November 5th, 2012, by Abby Benson  

Week in Review, or Calm After (Before?) the Storm

My thoughts go out to all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy last week. I find the footage and stories coming out of New York and New Jersey to be devastating. In addition to stories of personal loss, reports also emerged on the loss of years of valuable research at places such as New York University in Manhattan, and the resilience of other places such as Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island. In DC, research agencies such as NIH and NSF responded to the storm by issuing notices to researchers on steps they would take to help manage delays and challenges faced as a result of the storm.

When Congress is back in session the week of November 13th, there are reports that they will add another item to their already lengthy lame duck to-do listdisaster appropriations. These appropriations could provide supplemental funding to agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who are involved in post-Sandy response and restoration. Any efforts to identify supplemental appropriations will take place alongside efforts to address the tax breaks scheduled to expire at the end of the year and the major spending cuts (a.k.a. sequestration) scheduled to kick in the first week of January. And don’t forget the debt limit, which the Treasury Department re-affirmed last week would be reached by the end of the year.

While DC made it through Hurricane Sandy relatively unscathed, the city remained shut down until Wednesday. Since then, it feels like the city is holding its breath in anticipation of tomorrow’s election.  As you may have noticed over the last few months, activity in DC slows down in direct proportion to how close a big election is, for fear that any big decision or announcement might be picked up as part of the political dialogue. I expect this will all change soon, but for now I will focus on the privilege of casting my vote tomorrow. I hope you will all do the same!

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