The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) is dismayed at the proposed budget cuts to federal scientific research agencies as outlined in the White House’s recently published fiscal year 2018 budget request. This first proposal of the Trump Administration calls for slashing the National Institutes of Health funding by $6 billion (or roughly 20% of its total budget), as well as a $900 million reduction to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science budget and significant reductions to research programs at the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA’s Earth Science funding, and the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.
By limiting the budgets of important government research entities that are solving problems in disease, public health, clean energy, and the environment, among many other concerns that benefit human health and our national security, the Administration weakens the strength of the nation. In addition, these funding cuts could jeopardize years of research progress as well as the individual careers of the scientists and engineers and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows working on the next breakthrough.
Our science policy staff at ASCB are currently analyzing Trump’s first budget request in detail. But on first pass, we do not like what we see. At the conclusion of our analysis, we will share our findings and elucidate our specific concerns as well as offer suggested ways to address these concerns. The President’s budget request is the first step of the budget process, so there is still time to make a difference. We encourage ASCB members to contact their local legislators to voice their concerns over these dramatic cuts that will impact the nation’s position as a leader in scientific research.