Should effective altruists care about the US gov’t shutdown and can we do anything?

For those who haven’t heard, NIH and NSF are no longer pro­cess­ing grants, lead­ing to many nega­tive down­stream effects.

I’ve been di­rect­ing my at­ten­tion el­se­where lately and don’t have any­thing in­for­ma­tive to say about this. How­ever, my un­in­formed in­tu­ition is that peo­ple who care about effec­tive al­tru­ism (re­search in gen­eral, in­fras­truc­ture de­vel­op­ment, X-risk miti­ga­tion, life-ex­ten­sion...ba­si­cally ev­ery­thing, ac­tu­ally) or have tran­shu­man­ist lean­ings should be very con­cerned.

The con­se­quences have already been pretty dis­as­trous. To provide just one, im­me­di­ate ex­am­ple, the ar­ti­cle says that the Cen­ter for Disease Con­trol and Preven­tion has shut down. I think that this is al­most cer­tain to di­rectly cause a non­triv­ial num­ber of deaths. Each ad­di­tional day that this con­tinues could have huge nega­tive im­pact down the line, per­haps de­lay­ing some key fu­ture dis­cov­er­ies by years. This event *might* be a small win­dow of op­por­tu­nity to pre­vent a lot of harm very cheaply.

So the ques­tion is:

1) Can we do any­thing to rem­edy the situ­a­tion?

2) If so, is it worth do­ing it? (Op­por­tu­nity costs, etc)