Trump proposes funding cuts to U.S. science agencies | March 29, 2017 Issue - Vol. 95 Issue 14 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 95 Issue 14 | p. 20 | News of The Week
Issue Date: April 3, 2017 | Web Date: March 29, 2017

Trump proposes funding cuts to U.S. science agencies

Plan would slash nonmilitary spending for remainder of fiscal 2017
Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: research funding, Trump, NIST, EPA, NIH, Department of Energy

President Donald J. Trump is asking Congress to strip billions from federal research funding this year.

Trump’s plan, which needs lawmakers’ approval to take effect, would offset proposed spending increases for defense and border security by slashing $17.9 billion from nonmilitary spending for the final five months of fiscal 2017. The fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.

The proposal would cut research grants supported by the National Institutes of Health by $1.2 billion, or 3.9%, compared with current levels. The proposal would also snip research funded by the National Science Foundation by $350 million, or 5.1%.

Programs aimed at boosting innovation and U.S. manufacturing would feel the biggest hits. For example, the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E) program, which funds high-risk, high-impact clean energy technologies, would be slashed by $150 million or 51.7%, compared with current levels. In addition, the National Institute of Standards & Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a public-private partnership serving small and medium-sized manufacturers, would see its budget lopped in half, by $65 million.

Critics of the proposal are outraged by the President’s request for deep cuts to science. Cutting NIH grants “is a fast track to failure against the goal of ending deadly and debilitating diseases,” says the group Research!America, which advocates for more funding for scientific research. “Cutting National Science Foundation grants is a strategy for starving American innovation, not fueling it,” the group adds.

Congress is racing to reach a spending agreement to prevent the government from shutting down when a stopgap spending measure—a continuing resolution—for 2017 funding expires on April 28.

Some experts predict that lawmakers won’t take Trump’s plan seriously because it ignores months of bipartisan negotiations. In addition, Congress will only be in session about a dozen more days before the continuing resolution expires, so there is little time to hash out a new agreement.

President’s priorities

The Trump Administration wants Congress to trim federal spending for these science programs in the final five months of fiscal 2017.

Department of Energy: ARPA-E $290 -$150 -51.70%
Department of Energy: Office of Science 5,337 -37 -0.7
Environmental Protection Agency: R&D 483 -48 -9.9
NIST: Manufacturing Extension Partnership 130 -65 -50
NIST: Science, Technical Research & Services 689 -40 -5.8
National Institutes of Health 31,674 -1,232 -3.9
National Science Foundation 6,914 -350 -5.1

a Level if a stopgap spending law that expires on April 28 is extended without change. ARPA-E = Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy. NIST = National Institute of Standards & Technology.

Source: White House

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