March 9, 2017 | In late February, the Trump administration announced a $54 billion increase in defense spending in its budget request for fiscal year 2018, along with a commensurate $54 billion cut in non-defense discretionary spending. The 2018 fiscal year begins October 1, 2017.
The specific increases and reductions in the first budget request from the new administration to Congress are expected from the White House Office of Management and Budget on March 16. Documents outlining the specific details are anticipated to follow in mid-May.
Early reports of specifics within the president's budget have been leaked to several media outlets. These include a 40% cut to the Office of Research and Development at the Environmental Protection Agency, a 37% cut to both the Department of State and the Agency for International Development, and a 17% cut to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including a 22% cut to NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). To date there have been no media reports on potential cuts to the National Science Foundation or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
These early, unauthorized reports are raising questions at federal agencies and at institutions that receive grant and contract funding from the federal government, including at UCAR. Congressional leaders in both parties have said that Congress will not endorse steep budget cuts to non-defense programs to fund an increase in defense spending. Since 2011, annual federal spending has been limited by law to specific caps, and in each of the three times that those caps have been increased, Congress has increased spending for both defense and non-defense spending. Senate Democrats have consistently held that any increase in defense spending must have a corresponding increase in non-defense spending, and their position on this parity remains unchanged.
UCAR is continuing its efforts to educate decision makers about the vital role of the nation's scientific community in protecting lives and property, growing the economy, and strengthening national security. Our Government Relations team has met with every new House and Senate member to brief them on the education and innovation made possible by the dynamic UCAR consortium in partnership with the collaborative research and assets of NCAR.
UCAR's Advocacy for the Science Community (UASC) committee issued a public policy agenda in fall 2016 that guides all our efforts in support of the atmospheric, Earth, and related science activities at our nation's colleges and universities. The UCAR's Board of Trustees and President’s Advisory Committee on University Relations will meet in Washington, DC, this May, where they will also visit their representatives and senators to reinforce the value of federal investments in science.
If the research and education community is to continue its dual mission, producing breakthroughs in safety, security, and prosperity while training the next generation to tackle the challenges ahead, it is essential that NSF, NOAA, NASA and the other related-mission agencies receive priority support for their research and education activities alongside the continued improvement of operational programs.
We will continue to update the community on the budgeting process as it unfolds, including when the White House presents its official budgets later this month and in more detail in May.