Congress Defies Trump And Votes To Boost American Science Funding For 2018

Science has (happily) few enemies outside the White House. Michael Candelori/Shutterstock

This battle has been playing out ever since Trump sat in the Oval Office. The first round was fired back in March, when the White House produced its budget blueprint for the upcoming 2017 fiscal year.

At the expense of a boost in military spending, it proposed to cut huge amounts from the Environmental Protection Agency (30 percent), the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (around 30 percent), Health and Human Services (23 percent), Education (14 percent), the United States Geological Survey (10 percent), and even NASA (by 1 percent).

The programs that were most threatened were those that dealt with the Earth Sciences, especially if they had any links to climate change research.

Budgets are initially voted on by the House, which is currently controlled by the Republicans. Whether it’s because they’re climate change deniers, lobbied by industry, or because they want to “shrink” the government in the way traditional conservatives pine for, you’d perhaps expect them to fall in line with the President on this budget – but as the recent Obamacare “repeal and replace” effort shows, this isn’t always the case.

Enough Republicans back then recognized that cutting science funding across the board is a terrible idea, one that would actively endanger the wellbeing of the American public in many cases.

Working with Democrats, the bipartisan effort to shield federal science from Trump’s cuts proved to be successful. Only modest cuts were taken from certain scientific agencies (like the EPA), whereas plenty of others, including NASA, NOAA, and the NIH received not-insignificant funding boosts.

The threat of the 2018 White House budget proposal – which was fairly unchanged from the 2017 one – still loomed large, but it looks like once again, the House has defied the President, if only just.

Good job, people. Orhan Cam/Shutterstock

 

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