Blotter

President's budget request
includes cuts to science

Trump prioritizes military spending over domestic investments, including biomedical research, once again
Benjamin Corb
Feb. 10, 2020

President Donald Trump today released his administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2021. In it, he proposes cutting domestic nondefense spending, including investments in the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, in favor of increasing federal defense spending.

More on Trump's spending priorities

  • Read the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s official response to President Donald Trump’s budget request for fiscal 2021.
  • In his State of the Union address, the president misrepresented his administration’s support for medical research. In fact, he has repeatedly sought to reduce funding. 

Trump’s budget would reduce nondefense discretionary spending by $40 billion and increase defense spending by $2 billion. This comes despite a bipartisan agreement made in Congress last year to lock in spending levels for fiscal years 2020 and 2021, which Trump signed into law. 

Among the cuts the president’s budget proposes are:

  • a 7% cut to the National Science Foundation budget,
  • a 5% cut to the National Institutes of Health budget, and
  • an 8% cut to the Department of Education budget.

While these proposed cuts, and the priorities they reflect, are disheartening, the president’s budget is only a request. Congress ultimately makes spending decisions, and it has consistently balked at the president’s attempts to reduce funding for science. 

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Benjamin Corb

Benjamin Corb is the former director of public affairs at ASBMB.

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