For a while, ultra-conservatives have been attempting to get the US to abandon science and return to a biblical purity and it seems that thanks to the government shut-down they engineered they will get their wish. Not only did government researchers get locked out of their labs and offices, but whole programs were wastefully delayed and, in some cases, endangered.
Critical tests on the James Webb Space Telescope, the eagerly awaited successor of the Hubble, had to be abandoned. Scientists couldn't receive emails, attend meetings, or interact with their colleagues. Crucial environmental, food safety and climate monitoring programs were either suspended, or substantially scaled back.
In short the state of US science will take years to recover, which is exactly what the Tea Party wanted.