As the Washington Post notes, NASA aside, the Trump administration proposes to take a chainsaw to science and #medical research in its first budget proposal. It can be actually be said that the new president’s proposed cuts at the National Institutes of Health, the Energy Department, NOAA, and other parts of the government are not designed to make America great again. In fact, the effects of the budget cuts will likely have the opposite effect.
Medical research at NIH, for example, would take a $6 billion hit, devastating to searches for cures for diseases. EPA, the Energy Department, and NOAA also take budget cuts, with research programs in renewable energy and climate science facing wholesale elimination. The National Science Foundation is not specifically mentioned but may fall under the category of “other agencies” which will take a nearly 10 percent hit.
The consensus in the federal government on both sides of the political divide for the past few decades has been that #Science And Technology #Research And Development is a source of strength for the United States. The proposed Trump budget would constitute a break in that idea.
Of particular concern is the 20 percent cut in the NIH budget. NIH, which its research grants that go for new treatments for diseases, has been a favorite of both parties. President Bill Clinton and President George W, Bush between them doubled spending for medical research. The Trump budget proposal would be devastating for such efforts.
The problem that led to this document is multifaceted. Trump has a defense buildup, infrastructure spending, the Wall, and a tax reform measure to pay for. The new administration has studiously decided to avoid touching entitlements, social security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which had driven much of the increase in spending. So nondefense discretionary spending, which include science and medical research, must take a massive hit.
At the same time, Trump not only not only does not have his science and technology people, such as the heads of NASA and NOAA, in place, but he also has not even nominated them yet. So he lacks the advice of people who might have been able to inform him and his budget people about the importance of science and technology research and development.
The good thing is that the budget proposal is but the first step in the process that will produce spending bills at the end. The levels that have been set out in the Trump budget is not likely to resemble what will finally take place.