Trump’s Budget May Cut Science Funding

The president’s 2018 budget request tips the scales in favor of military spending and away from civilian funding agencies, such as the NIH and NSF.

Feb 28, 2017
Bob Grant

WWBFD?PIXABAYThe National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other federal science funding agencies may need to brace for cuts, judging by President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget request. Trump’s budgetary plan, released yesterday (February 27), proposes a 10.5 percent cut for nondefense discretionary funding, a category that includes the budgets of NIH, NSF, parts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The main driver of those cuts seems to be Trump’s proposed increases to defense spending—the plan recommends bumping that part of the federal budget up by $54 billion—which the President highlighted in a speech announcing the budget request.

“This budget follows through on my promise to keep Americans safe,” Trump said. He continued that this plan will send a “message to the world in these dangerous times of American strength, security and resolve.”

But some science and environmental advocates are warning of the damage that Trump’s proposed budget could do. “The assault on human health begins now with President Trump’s plan to slash the EPA’s resources, which are vital to protecting Americans’ drinking water and air from pollution,” Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, told The New York Times.

The budgetary proposal still has to clear Congress, and the White House has stated that it will send a more detailed rundown of what and where it will cut in the coming months, according to Science.