ASBMB responds to Trump budget proposal that threatens funding for 2,000 research projects

President Donald Trump on Monday night released his budget-reduction request for fiscal year 2017, and the National Institutes of Health did not escape the chopping block.

Given that Congress failed to complete FY17 spending bills, much of the federal government has been operating under a continuing resolution that keeps federal spending at FY16 levels until April 28.

In his request, Trump calls for $17.9 billion total in cuts for FY17, including a $1.23 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health and a $350 million cut to the National Science Foundation.

Trump proposes reducing funding for NIH research grants by $1.18 billion and reducing funding for IDeA grants by $50 million. The reduction in research grant funding alone could result in as many as 2,000 fewer funded projects in FY17.

Benjamin Corb, director of public affairs for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, provided the following statement in response to the president’s proposal:

Once again, President Donald Trump has disappointed the scientific community by proposing billions of dollars in cuts — this time to the fiscal year 2017 budget.

In the president’s reduction request for FY17, he calls for a $1.23 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health budget. To achieve that, he proposes eliminating new IDeA grants, worth $50 million, and taking $1.18 billion from the pool for new research grants.

After a year in which the NIH enjoyed bipartisan support that resulted in a $2 billion increase and passage of a massive legislative package supporting new research programs that will yield life-saving therapies for such diseases as cancer and Alzheimer’s and to improve the drug-discovery pipeline, the president and his budget team have proposed throwing progress out the window in favor of cutting nondefense discretionary spending.

Trump is basically proposing that the NIH fund 2,000 fewer grants this fiscal year and proposing a deeper reduction in FY18.

The president continues to put the health and well-being of Americans in danger to move forward a so-called “hard power budget,” even while leaders from his own party view investments in biomedical research as critical to the nation’s security.

The ASBMB rejects the president’s proposal and will continue working with its congressional partners to protect the American scientific enterprise.

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