Trump Cuts in Science range from 8% to 86%


During his State of the Union talk, as Trump rambled on, there were highlights about science .. a new effort to end AIDS, cure pediatric cancer, and compete with China to create artificial intelligence. Oh yeh, we are going to create a Space Force, a moon base, send our space cadets to Mars and super fund coal!

And about how these all were to be funded?   Now his budget says the intent is to make deep cuts in science and divert funds from what is left to Mr. T’s “new” initiatives.

Presumably Congress will redo this in some sensible way.  Whether that can happen in the midst of so much climate denial, fake science and fantasy .. who knows?

Here are some of the details by agency:


The request would slash NIH’s budget by $5 billion to $34.4 billion, a 13% cut. That cut also comes while the administration wold redirect what is left toward its own initiatives including $50 million for drug discovery in childhood  cancer as an intial payment of the half billion pediatric cancer research effort that Trump proposed in his State of the Union address.  AIDS Research would receive $6 million. again as part of proposal to cure AIDs, and divert other funds to fulfill his  $500 million Initiative to combat opioid addiction.  The biggest rebudgeting, however, includes $256 million to fold the stand-alone Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) into the NIH.


The budget cut here overall is more modest, only  2.2% from this year’s enacted levels, but there is a more than 8% drop in its science portfolio. The request proposes canceling the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, as well as earth science missions, including the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem satellite and the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory Pathfinder.

Instead Trump wants to fund his Space Force fantasy. The White House is asking for $72 million in the upcoming fiscal year to create the Space Force headquarters. Funding for space-centered defense programs will be shifted over to the Space Force portfolio. Eventually, the Space Force could account for about $500 million in spending annually.  What is a Space Force without Mars?  The budget would start work on the agency’s next mission to Mars, which would return samples collected by the Mars 2020 rover, launching next year. And of course there is money for a Moon base, though not clear who we get there as Trump is cutting funds for a heavy lift vehicle comparable to ones being built in China.


NSF would face a cut of roughly $1 billion, to $7.1 billion, a 12% reduction.


The Department of Energy, the Office of Science’s budget would shrink by roughly 17%, to $5.5 billion. The department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would shrink by 86%, from $2.379 billion to $343 million. And the administration has again proposed eliminating the $366 million Advanced Research Projects Agency.  Meanwhile the budget request would allocate $850 million for artificial intelligence development and $430 million for quantum information science across several agencies — including the Energy Department and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. T

Defense applications in computer science are supported as well, to the tune of $208 million for the Pentagon’s Joint AI Center and $9.6 billion for cyber operations.


Guess what,  the administration is again proposing to take an ax to climate and research programs. Overall, the agency’s budget would shrink by nearly one-third, from about $8.8 billion to $6.1 billion. Its science and technology programs would be funded at about $440 million, nearly 40% below the current level of $718 million. The budget line for air and energy research, which includes climate change science, would drop by more than $60 million, from about $95 million to $32 million.

For details, check out Science’s analysis.


1 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Roger Rabbit #

    So if you’re a scientist, and your budget is being cut **only** 8%, you’re one of the very lucky ones.

Your Comment