Computing Research Policy Blog

The Computing Research Association (or CRA) has been involved in shaping public policy of relevance to computing research for more than two decades. More recently the CRA Government Affairs program has enhanced its efforts to help the members of the computing research community contribute to the public debate knowledgeably and effectively.


Trump Budget Blueprint Slashes Science, Boosts Defense


President Trump today released his “budget blueprint to make America great again” that calls on Congress to boost Defense spending by $54 billion in FY 2018 and offset that increase by slashing non-defense spending an equal amount. As a result, the budget request would make deep cuts to Federal research agencies and eliminate other popular programs entirely.

This budget is short on details — the President will release a more traditional, detailed budget in early to mid-May — but what is included will not breed much faith that the new Administration sees much value in federal investments in research.

“Highlights”:

    • NIH would be cut by *$6 billion* — that’s a fifth of its current budget

    • DOE’s Office of Science would see a cut of $900 million…that’s nearly a fifth. No details yet on the Advanced Scientific Computing Research. Eliminates ARPA-E.

    • EPA’s budget is down a third. Cuts Office of R&D in half.

    • NASA would lose the entire education office and $102 million of the earth science budget (including 4 climate change programs)

    • NSF isn’t mentioned by name, but is probably included in the “other agencies” category, with an expected cut of ~10 percent.

    • Cuts $250 million from coastal research programs at NOAA and eliminates the $73 million Sea Grant Program;

    • Eliminates funding to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership at NIST

    • Cuts $9.2 billion at the Department of Education

    • Department of Defense would see a 10 percent increase.

    • Department of Homeland Security would see a 7 percent increase

The budget also includes ~$4 billion for a southern border wall; eliminates funding for National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities; eliminates funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services; eliminates funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; eliminates funding for the Legal Services Corporation; eliminates funding for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Though this budget appears pretty objectively bad for the research community, keep in mind this is only the President’s proposal. Congress will ultimately decide how these programs are funded, and there is significant opposition to many of these cuts on both sides of the aisle. The final budget will likely not look much like this one. However, as a starting point for the negotiations, this one is pretty poor.

We’ll have more details on the budget as the specifics become available over the next weeks and months. We’ll also detail some of the steps that the computing research community is taking to urge Congress and the Administration to protect America’s leadership role in innovation by buttressing investments in science. We’ll be making the case that ensuring that America remains tops in global competitiveness and job creation requires maintaining a healthy and robust research ecosystem in the U.S., and a key part of that ecosystem is the federal role in supporting basic research. Indeed, there have been few investments the federal government has ever made that have provided bigger return than the investment in fundamental research. Research investments need to be a priority, not a target of cuts as they are in this request.

Trump Budget Blueprint Slashes Science, Boosts Defense