APS Urges Congress to Reject Trump Plan to Cut NIH Funding

A preview of President Trump’s FY 2018 budget released on March 16 includes the recommendation to cut almost 20% from the NIH budget. According to the document, the President will recommend “a major reorganization of NIH’s Institutes and Centers to help focus resources on the highest priority research and training activities.” Although short on specifics, the preview mentions eliminating the Fogarty International Center, reducing administrative costs, and “rebalanc[ing] Federal contributions to research funding.” The last statement may mean reducing reimbursements of overhead costs to research institutions. The full budget plan will not be released until May.

The APS Council approved this statement urging Congress to reject the proposed cuts:

APS Urges Congress to Reject Proposed Cuts to Research

President Trump’s FY 2018 budget plans, released March 16, 2017, call for huge and damaging cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Under this proposal, NIH’s budget would sustain a loss of $5.8 billion or almost 20% of its budget. Not only would this curtail scientific progress, it would also be devastating to our nation’s scientific enterprise and biomedical workforce. In the long-term, these cuts threaten both the health of all Americans and the U.S. economy as a whole, which depends on an educated workforce to drive innovation in both the public and private sectors. Dollars invested in scientific research fuel the economy by employing skilled workers, purchasing supplies and creating intellectual property. At a time when other nations are increasing their investments in research, the U.S. needs to maintain and grow research capacity or risk losing out in a competitive global marketplace.

Funding for biomedical research is a non-partisan issue. Champions in Congress from both parties have worked together for decades to foster research in the U.S. and the proposed cuts would reverse recent increases provided by leaders in Congress. We call on these champions to continue their commitment to the sciences.

We encourage members of the scientific community to reach out to your Members of Congress and ask them to reject the President’s budget proposal. Contact information for your elected representatives is available on the House and Senate websites. Information on how much federal research funding is being invested in your state or district is available on the FASEB website, along with other advocacy resources.

President Trump’s budget proposes to add $54 billion to bolster defense spending while subtracting the same amount from non-defense programs (termed non-defense discretionary spending). However, the President does not have the authority to make this happen by himself. The Budget Control Act (BCA) limits how much may be spent on defense and non-defense programs, and it requires parity in budget changes in the two categories. This means that Congress would have to amend the BCA law in order for the proposed transfer to occur. Despite the fact that Republicans hold majorities in both the House and Senate, changes to the BCA and passage of the budget as outlined in its current form are not assured. Republicans in the House are divided on how to fund the federal government: Some members of the Freedom Caucus have called for even deeper cuts both to domestic programs and to entitlements such as social security. At the same time, some moderates have voiced reservations about the extent of proposed cuts to critical government programs. In the Senate, procedural rules add another layer of complexity: Even if all 52 Republican Senators voted to amend the BCA, it would still require the support of 8 Democrats to get the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.


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APS Urges Congress to Reject Proposed Cuts to Research

APS issued a statement March 16 urging Congress to reject President Trump’s plan for drastic NIH budget cuts.