Trump Administration's FY18 Budget Blueprint Outlines Non-Defense Budget Cuts

By Steve Pierson posted 03-16-2017 17:36


[5/23/17: The full FY18 request was released this morning and the tables in the following blog entries were updated accordingly: FY18 NIH, NSF, AHRQ, and FDA Budget Developments and FY18 Statistical Agency Budget Developments.]
The Trump Administration today released the FY18 budget request document, America First A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again, outlining in broad strokes how it will cut $54 billion in fiscal year 2018 (FY18) from non-defense budgets to provide increases for defense and homeland security budgets. While there is little detail so far for the scientific research funding and federal statistical agencies—ASA’s primary federal budget interests—the available news for these agencies is concerning. In reaction to the overall proposed cuts, many are urging caution noting the large role that Congress has in finalizing federal budgets. To this point, it is worth noting that many requested budgets from the Obama administration were sometimes viewed as dead-on-arrival by Congress. Still, the ASA encourages its members to contact their member of Congress encouraging robust funding for the federal research funding and statistical agencies. 

Following tradition, the ASA will be covering the FY18 appropriations developments at two blog entries: FY18 NIH, NSF, AHRQ, and FDA Budget Developments and 
FY18 Statistical Agency Budget Developments. We should also note the FY17 federal budget, which began October 1, is operating on a continuing resolution through next month. The current status of FY17 appropriations levels is available here: FY17 Statistical Agency Budget Developments and FY17 NIH, NSF and AHRQ Budget Developments. 

Of the research funding and statistical agency budgets the ASA monitors, the biggest concerns include a sharp cut to the NIH budget, which includes a proposal to consolidate AHRQ into NIH. The FY18 budget blueprint proposes $25.9 billion for NIH in FY18, 20% below the FY16 level of $32.3 billion and even further below the House and Senate recommended FY17 levels of $33.6 billion and $34.3 billion, respectively. The budget blueprint also "includes a major reorganization of NIH’s Institutes and Centers to help focus resources on the highest priority research and training activities, including:  eliminating the Fogarty International Center; consolidating the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality within NIH; and other consolidations and structural changes across NIH organizations and activities.  The Budget also reduces administrative costs and rebalance Federal contributions to research funding." 

In the Department of Commerce section of the blueprint, it is encouraging that it "prioritizes and protects investments in core Government functions such as preparing for the 2020 Decennial Census." While portrayed as "an increase of more than $100 million", the actual proposed funding level of $1.5 billion for FY18 is concerning. While true relative to the FY16 budget, the FY17 request was for $1.66 billion and the FY17 House and Senate recommended levels stand at $1.47 billion and 1.52 billion, respectively. Census supporters, the ASA included, support the Census budget being increased to prepare for the 2020 decennnial census while maintaining the other important U.S. Census Bureau functions. 

The blueprint would also consolidate "the mission, policy support, and administrative functions of the Economics and Statistics Administration [ESA] within the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Department of Commerce’s Office of the Secretary", which is interpreted to mean eliminating the ESA.

in the Department of Agriculture budget, which is slated for an overall 20% cut from its FY16 level, the ERS and NASS are explicitly called out for cuts, while preservng the Census of Agriculture: the FY18 budget "Reduces funding for USDA’s statistical capabilities, while maintaining core Departmental analytical functions, such as the funding necessary to complete the Census of Agriculture. "

The other federal statistical agencies are also expected to be proposed for significant cuts in FY18 with calls of 20% reductions for the Department of Labor, 14% for Education, 16% for HHS, and 6% for Energy. 

The National Science Foundation is not mentioned in the FY18 budget blueprint. 

According to an email from the STEM Ed Coalition, the impacts to STEM education include the following:

  • "The 2018 Budget proposes $59 billion for the Department of Education, a $9 billion or 13 percent reduction below the 2017 CR level.
  • "An additional $1.4 billion has been proposed for school choice programs, Title I funding has been increased slightly and special education (IDEA) funding is retained at the current level. 
  • "Would eliminate entirely the $2.4 billion Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program (Title II of ESSA to support teacher professional development as recently authorized by Congress)
  • "Would eliminate entirely the $1.2 billion 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool program.
  • "Does not mention the Title IV, Part A Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants program (we assume no funding is provided for this new program, which is heavily focused on STEM activities)."

The greater scientific community is reacting strongly to the the budget blueprint so far, with select quotes here: 

  • "Unfortunately, the Administration’s FY18 budget would erode the investment needed to maintain America's status as the global innovation leader. With the cuts to basic research offered in the FY18 budget, our nation risks creating an innovation deficit, which would diminish our ability to compete globally, to grow our economy, and to safeguard our nation." Task Force on American Innovation, March 16
  • "This budget proposal would cripple American innovation and economic growth. The President’s FY18 budget proposes deep cuts to vital scientific research at the National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, NASA, NOAA, and other critical scientific agencies. It also makes shortsighted cuts to federal programs that have played a key role in expanding access to higher education for millions of Americans, and would be a major setback for low-income students who benefit from the Work-Study and Pell Grant programs." AAU Statement on Administration's FY18 Budget Proposal, March 16
  • "The Administration’s proposal to gut funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $5.8 billion or nearly 20 percent below current levels would drastically slow progress on research to find treatments and cures for patients nationwide. Cuts to NIH of such unprecedented magnitude would affect every American, including patients, their families, researchers, and communities where NIH investment spurs economic growth." The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, March 16
  • "The American Chemical Society (ACS) finds these potential cuts extremely concerning because robust, sustained and predictable investments in non-defense research have proven to be critical to the nation’s innovation infrastructure, job creation and economic growth." The American Chemical Society, March 16 
  • "AcademyHealth is deeply troubled by the president’s budget and the signal it sends to the nation’s scientific enterprise. Among the proposals included in the document are devastating cuts to vital health and health research agencies, such as a nearly $6 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), while also folding the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the only federal agency with a mandate to conduct health services research, into a severely affected NIH." AcademyHealth, March 16 
The ASA will be following the budget developments closely with a goal being for strong budgets of the federal statistical and funding research agencies. We will work with other organizations and various coalitions. Among these coalitions are the following:
  1. Coalition for National Science Foundation
  2. Task Force on American Innovation
  3. STEM Ed Coalition
  4. Census Project
  5. Friends of Labor Statistics
  6. Friends of Ag Statistics
  7. Friends of Institute for Education Sciences
  8. Friends of NCHS
  9. Friends of AHRQ
  10. Supporters of NIH
  11. Alliance for a Strong FDA

See also: 

Statistical Agency abbreviations

BEA Bureau of Economic Analysis
BJS Bureau of Justice Statistics
BLS Bureau of Labor Statistics
BTS Bureau of Transportation Statistics
ERS Economic Research Service
EIA Energy Information Administration
NASS National Agricultural Statistics Service
NCES National Center for Education Statistics
NCHS National Center for Health Statistics
NCSES National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, NSF
ORES Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics, SSA
SOI Statistics of Income Division, IRS

See other ASA Science Policy blog entries. For ASA science policy updates, follow @ASA_SciPol on Twitter. 

1 comment



03-21-2017 06:34

I don't see where this is partisan.  I see it as a statement of the facts.