On March 16, 2017, the White House released a budget proposal document popularly known as a “skinny budget” or “blueprint.” While this document does give some idea of the administration’s priorities, it is not a budget, and it lacks substantial detail. A more complete budget proposal from the White House is expected in May. We will keep the Tufts research community up to date on the current Administration’s priorities as they relates to science, engineering, arts, and humanities funding as more information becomes available.
Below, we summarize the “skinny budget.” Please keep in mind, however, that funding comes from Congress, and the final Federal budget is typically substantially different from what the current President proposes.
Overall, as expected, the White House proposes substantial cuts to climate change and environmental research, affecting a number of agencies, including:
Additionally, the budget document proposes signification changes to Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) research, including:
Arts and humanities programs have been targeted for elimination, though many experts agree that it is unlikely that the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities will be eliminated.
The US Department of Agriculture would see budget cuts and a refocusing of research areas, including:
The National Science Foundation was not included in the “skinny budget” as a separate line item, though it is likely included in the “Other Agencies” line in the budget document. Notably, Lewis-Burke Associates notes that “cuts to NSF would not be needed to reach the Administration’s overall domestic discretionary targets.” Other sources note that the “Other Agencies” have a proposed 9.8% cut.
As stated earlier, most experts believe that Congress’s budget will be quite different from this blueprint. Many analysts suggest that we think of the budget blueprint as a campaign document rather than a serious indication of what to expect. For context, Brian Resnick of Vox reports that the 21st Century Cures Act, signed in December, increased the NIH budget by approximately $4 billion and passed with 94% of the Senate vote and received 344 votes in the House (see http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/16/14940444/2018-budget-trump-science-nih).
Thus, the 21st Century Cures Act demonstrates the continuing bipartisan support for science funding, and we anticipate that there will be many more discussions regarding the extent to which the Administration’s priorities will be enacted.
The Office of the Vice Provost for Research will continue to keep our community informed, and if you have any questions, please contact Amy Gantt in the Office of Research Development (email@example.com).