The White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) has told federal agencies to start preparing for a possible government shutdown this week. Federal funding expires on Sept. 30. Unless Congress approves temporary or permanent funding for fiscal 2016, the government will shut down on Oct. 1. So far, Congress has shown few signs of a compromise over controversial issues that are holding up a vote. These include defunding Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act and reversing budget caps known as sequestration. Earlier this summer, OMB told federal agencies to update their shutdown plans, but those have not yet been publically released. If a 16-day shutdown in 2013 is any indication, only employees considered essential by their agencies will be allowed to continue working as of Oct. 1, mostly without pay. That means most federal scientists would be forced to leave their laboratories and stay away. In addition, disbursement of grants and the peer review process would come to a halt. Regulatory reviews and inspections would stop until government funding is in place.