Trump’s budget calls for seismic disruption in medical and science research
Many targeted research agencies have historically had broad bipartisan support.
President Trump’s budget calls for a seismic disruption in government-funded medical and scientific research. The cuts are deep and broad.
They also go beyond what many political observers expected. Trump had made clear that he would target the Environmental Protection Agency, but the budget blueprint calls for a startling downsizing of agencies that historically have received steady bipartisan support. The National Institutes of Health, for example, would be cut by nearly $6 billion, about a fifth of the NIH budget.
The shock waves of this blueprint will be felt far beyond the walls of government bureaucracies. The scientific endeavor across America depends to a large degree on competitive grants distributed by federal agencies that face dramatic budget cuts. NIH uses only about 10 percent of its $30 billion budget for in-house studies; more than 80 percent goes to some 300,000 outside researchers.
Investment in research and development has been seen since World War II as critical to national prosperity and security. But the Trump administration has signaled that government-funded science, like government more broadly, has become too sprawling.
The result is a budget that takes a sharp bite out of some programs and kills others outright. Those targeted for termination include an EPA program to clean up the Cheseapeake Bay, the accident-investigating Chemical Safety Board, and a NASA satellite program (long ago known as the GoreSat, after the idea was promoted by then-Vice President Al Gore) that monitors solar storms and Earth’s climate.