In Depth2018 U.S. Budget

Lawmakers balk at most Trump cuts

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Science  07 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6346, pp. 11-12
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6346.11

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Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives are saying no to President Donald Trump's request to make deep cuts next year to the budgets of several key science funding agencies. Last week House appropriators advanced a half-dozen 2018 budget bills that mostly ignore the proposed double-digit cuts, and chose to hold spending at many agencies roughly at current levels. Still, key climate and earth science programs would take a hit in the House bills, which mark the first step in what is expected to be a lengthy battle to set federal spending for the 2018 fiscal year that begins 1 October. The budget for the Office of Science at the Department of Energy (DOE), for example, would hold steady at its 2017 level of $5.39 billion rather than plunge by 17%. The National Science Foundation (NSF) would come up 1.8% short of its current $7.47 billion budget, but that's much better than the 11% cut that Trump proposed last May. NASA's science programs would actually rise by a 1% boost, to $5.9 billion, fueled in part by a $220 million increase for a planned multibillion-dollar mission to Jupiter's moon Europa. Not all the news was good, however. NASA's earth science budget would shrink by 11%, or $217 million, to $1.7 billion. Climate science at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would drop by a reported 19%, and DOE's $300-million-a-year Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy would disappear, in line with Trump's request. NSF would retain current funding levels for its six research directorates, but it would not get $105 million requested to start building the first two of three new research ships.