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Science wins reprieve in US budget deal
Congress gives National Institutes of Health a big boost and avoids cuts to research agencies sought by Trump.

Funding for US science agencies will stay flat or even increase over the next several months, under a US$1-trillion spending deal announced on 30 April. The plan devised by Congress, which covers the remainder of the 2017 budget year, avoids the sharp cuts to science proposed by US President Donald Trump.

The biggest winner is the National Institutes of Health (NIH), whose budget would rise by $2 billion compared to the 2016 level, for a total of $34 billion. The National Science Foundation would remain steady at just under $7.5 billion, while NASA’s budget would rise by about 2%, to $19.7 billion. And the Environmental Protection Agency, which Trump wants to cut by 31% in fiscal year 2018, would receive roughly $8.1 billion, a decrease of about 1% from 2016.

“From our perspective this is a great package, so we can put [fiscal year 2017] behind us and move on with our lives,” says Jennifer Zeitzer, director of legislative relations at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in Rockville, Maryland.

But that does not mean that scientists can breathe easy just yet: the largely positive 2017 deal does not necessarily indicate how Congress will handle funding for 2018, says Michael Lubell, a physicist at City College of CUNY in New York City. Lawmakers “have a year to fall in line [with the president] if they want to”, he says.

Trump’s 2018 budget request, released in March, seeks an 18% cut for the NIH and a 5.6% cut to the Department of Energy. It also proposes to eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which funds high-risk, high-reward research, along with a global-health research centre at the NIH and the Sea Grant education and research programme at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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Trump budget would slash science programmes across government
Proposed cuts include 11% at the National Science Foundation, 18% at the National Institutes of Health and 30% at the Environmental Protection Agency.

US President Donald Trump released a revised budget plan on 23 May that would cut science programmes across the federal government in 2018. Biomedical, public-health and environmental research would all be pared back.

Those cuts, along with deep reductions in programmes for the poor, are balanced by a proposed 10% increase in military spending. That echoes the “skinny budget” outline that Trump released in March, which faced opposition in Congress. Earlier this month, lawmakers approved a 2017 budget deal that increased funding for key science agencies and ignored the president’s push for cuts.

“This budget is terrible, and we’re confident that Congress will ignore it,” says Jennifer Zeitzer, director of legislative relations at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in Bethesda, Maryland.

Here, Nature breaks down the president’s budget request.

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nature.com
Biomedicine wins big in US budget deal
Late spending bill gives the NIH and several other research agencies healthy increases.

Biomedical research advocates are revelling in holiday cheer as a budget bill passed by the House of Representatives on 18 December gives the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) its biggest funding increase since 2003. Several other science-related agencies also benefit substantially from the budget, which is expected to be passed by the Senate and be signed into law by President Barack Obama within a few days.

“Best Christmas present ever,” says Jennifer Zeitzer, director of legislative relations at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology in Bethesda, Maryland. The spending bill allocates just over US$32.1 billion to the agency: a 6.6% rise over its 2015 budget. The agency’s funding has been flat since 2003, apart from a $10-billion windfall in fiscal years 2009 and 2010 that was part of stimulus package meant to lift the economy out of recession. After accounting for rises in research costs, funding actually fell by 20% during that 12-year period. The new budget, Zeitzer says, almost returns the NIH to its real 2003 level.

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