President Donald Trump is doubling down on his plan to slash billions of dollars from the U.S. government’s top science and research programs in 2018.
After promising major cuts in a budget roadmap released in March, the White House delivered a final proposal today that cancels nearly $6 billion in funding at the National Institutes of Health, reduces spending at the National Science Foundation by more than $770 million and takes major swipes at a number of federal programs that study climate change.
As with any president’s budget, the blueprint that Trump released today is just that: A sketch of his priorities submitted to Congress that lawmakers in previous years have ignored. This time around, Trump finds himself on a collision course even with members of his own party, who earlier this year funded the government for the rest of the 2017 fiscal year with a bill that actually sustains federal research spending, including at NIH.
Repeatedly, though, the Trump administration’s leading budget officials portrayed their cuts in the 2018 fiscal year as a necessary course correction, as the White House tried to write a budget “through the perspective of the people who are paying [for] it,” said Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, during a briefing with reporters on Monday.
“Can I ask somebody, a family in Grand Rapids, Michigan,” Mulvaney mused, “to pay tax money to the government so that I can do X?” A day later he lumped some of the Obama administration’s clean-energy programs into that category. He pointed to an initiative at NSF that funded climate-change awareness, including a conservative cause du jour — a $700,000 grant the agency made for a “climate change musical.”
“We don’t get rid of it here,” Mulvaney stressed of the government’s climate change programs. “Do we target it? Sure.”
To that end, the proposed cuts include the Department of Energy’s innovation hub, a portion of the agency modeled after the Pentagon’s storied tech team, called DARPA. It would be eliminated entirely under Trump’s budget for the fiscal year of 2018. So too does the White House take a number of swipes in its budget at the Environmental Protection Agency while proposing to kill funds at the State Department that focus on helping other countries grapple with climate change.
Meanwhile, the president targets the Centers for Disease Control with a $1.2 billion cut — a major change to the critical health agency’s funding that drew a rebuke from its former director, Dr. Tom Frieden, who said it would “increase illness, death, risks to Americans, and health care costs.”
Proposed CDC budget: unsafe at any level of enactment. Would increase illness, death, risks to Americans, and health care costs.— Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrFrieden) May 23, 2017
Beyond its cuts, however, the Trump administration repeated its support for $1 trillion in new infrastructure spending, though the budget blueprint does not provide any details as to what programs the White House hopes to fund. It only mentions “broadband” in passing.
And the president signaled support for hundreds of millions of dollars in new federal cyber security spending, both to shore up the security of federal networks and help the private sector handle major hacking incidents.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.