Gov Relations

President's FY 2018 Budget Request Highlights

May 24, 2017 | On May 23, the Trump administration released its full, detailed 2018 budget request and, as expected, there are deep cuts proposed for research and scientific infrastructure.

Just three weeks ago, Congress passed the FY 2017 omnibus appropriations bill, which provided responsible levels of investment in scientific activities. The appropriations committees are now drafting their FY 2018 spending bills, and they are asking members of Congress to respond to the 2018 budget submission by making programmatic requests (PDF). The deadline for requests by House members to the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science is May 30.

Highlights of funding for selected agencies

National Science Foundation

The NSF budget request is $6.7 billion (compared to $7.5 billion in FY17).

For NSF research, the total request is $5.4 billion (compared to $6 billion in FY17) to support all scientific and engineering disciplines within NSF.

Geosciences Directorate — The GEO request is $783 million. The FY17 spend plan amount is not yet available, so there is no comparative number for FY17, but the FY16 level was $1.318 billion. Part of the reduction in 2018 is due to moving Polar Programs ($442 million) out of GEO. In November 2016, NSF and the National Science Board decided to reinstate the Office of Polar Programs as a separate line item in the budget. NSF’s FY2018 budget structure reflects this budgetary reorganization.

NCAR — The administration requests a reduction for NCAR down to $89.90 million (compared to $105.6 million in FY16). The NSF justification states, “this decrease will require reassessment and refocusing of priorities for support by NSF and NCAR.” While the FY17 level is not yet final, we expect that the reduction between FY17 and FY18 under this proposal will be at least $10 million.

Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction —  $183 million (compared to $209 million for FY17), which was provided to facilitate planning and construction of three regional class research vessels.

NSF Education and Human Resources — $761 million (compared to $880 million for FY17).

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The NASA budget request is $19.09 billion (compared to $19.65 billion in FY17).

NASA science programs — The administration requests $5.7 billion (compared to $5.8 billion for FY17). Support for Earth Science is proposed to decline by 8.7% below FY17. Planetary science increases by 4.5%. The budget would eliminate five Earth science instruments and missions deemed lower priority by NASA:

  • PACE satellite (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, Ocean Ecosystem)
  • CLARREO Pathfinder (Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory)
  • OCO-3 (Orbiting Carbon Observatory) instruments for the International Space Station
  • the Earth-viewing instruments on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR)
  • the Radiation Budget Instrument (RBI)

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The NOAA budget request is$4.8 billion (a 16% cut from the FY17 level of $5.68 billion). As the administration proposed in March, the detailed budget carries forward several proposed terminations noted below.

NOAA Research (OAR) — requested at $324 million (down 32% from the FY17 appropriated amount of $478 million).

National Ocean Service — operating expenses requested at $385 million (a 26% cut from the FY17 appropriation of $517.4 million).

NOAA climate research —requested level of $128 million (down 19% from the FY17 level of $158 million).

National Weather Service — requested total of $1.058 billion (down from $1.122 billion in FY17). NWS Operations, Research, and Facilities is at $936 million (down from $979.8 million) for operating expenses. Funding for NWS observations is reduced to $208 million (compared to $216 million in FY17). Funding for NWS Science and Technology is $116 million (down from $136.5 million)

Weather satellite research — The administration requests a 4% increase for NOAA’s weather satellite research through NESDIS Operations, Research, and Facilities. But the weather satellites are down 20%, to $1.580 billion (from $2.159 billion in FY17). The justification states, “To ensure we can sustain core functions and enable critical enhancements to our priorities in FY18, NOAA made tough choices to reduce a number of programs, including external grant programs, refinements in tsunami warnings, arctic research, and the future Polar Follow-On satellite program, which will serve as the next generation of NOAA’s polar weather satellite constellation. The termination and re-scaling of programs, while challenging and impactful, is necessary as we move toward a more efficient government model that re-focuses on national security and core government functions.”

NOAA Procurement, Acquisition, and Construction —$1.807 billion requested (compared to $2.243 billion in FY17). COSMIC-2/Global Navigation Satellite System Radio Occultation budget request is $6.1 million (compared to $2 million in FY17).

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