Congress spurns sharp spending cuts for National Science Foundation, other federal agencies

Congress showed its support for the scientific community once again last month as the House Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) subcommittee unveiled its FY718 Appropriations bill, which rejected the White House’s call for drastic cuts to the National Science Foundation (NSF), among other agencies.

Assuming the CJS bill passes through the Appropriations process unscathed, the NSF will see its budget cut by 1.8%, a $133 million reduction from its current $7.47 billion. This represents a less radical cut than the 11% demanded by the Trump Administration last May.

“These funds [for NSF] will foster innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness, including funding for research on advanced manufacturing, physics, mathematics, cybersecurity, neuroscience, and STEM education,” said the subcommittee in a press release issued on June 28.

The NSF accounts for about 24% of all federally funded basic research conducted by colleges and universities. Approximately 12,000 awards are granted by the agency each year to fund promising research proposals, though the number may change according to the budget.

Other agencies that may see their purse strings tightened include the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, while organizations such as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will likely be granted greater funding.


About the Author:

Kevin M. Wilson serves as Director of Public Policy and Media Relations for The American Society for Cell Biology. He's worked as the Legislative Director for U.S. Congressman Robert Weygand (D-RI) and as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI). He has a BA in Politics and American Government from the Catholic University of America. Email:
Lily Werlinich is a summer intern in ASCB's Public Policy Department majoring in Political Communication at The George Washington University in Washington, DC.