The pro-science budget may come as a surprise to casual observers who (not wrongly) see the GOP as a party that, at best, eschews science – with the exception of space exploration, that is. However, they encountered a bit of a problem.
Senate Democrats were needed to sign off on the 2017 budget, as a supermajority (60) of Senators needed to agree in order for it to pass, and Republicans don’t have those numbers at present. If they refused to pass the 2017 budget in its entirety, the government would enter a shutdown, and this would be political poison for them.
This allowed the Senate Democrats, who are generally far more pro-science, to wield considerable influence. While making sure that Planned Parenthood was protected and Trump’s border wall wasn’t funded, they also appeared to guarantee science funding increased, if only slightly, in most areas of the federal government.
This funding bill remains temporary, however, and it has to be officially approved by the House and Senate on May 5. However, all things considered, it looks like 2017 won’t be such a bad year for science at all, and with organizations like March For Science and 314 Action sending scientists to Washington DC, it looks like the Resistance is off to a good start.