Science policy news weekly update: July 7, 2017

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President Donald Trump called for significant cuts to key science funding agencies in his 2018 budget proposal. However, almost immediately after its release, there was bipartisan opposition from lawmakers against the proposed cuts. Last week, U.S. House of Representatives appropriators advanced a half-dozen 2018 budget bills that largely ignored the president’s proposals, instead choosing to keep spending at most agencies at the same levels seen in 2017. For example, despite Trump’s call for a 17 percent cut to the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, House appropriators chose to keep the agency’s budget steady at FY17 levels. Additionally, Trump proposed an 11 percent cut to the National Science Foundation’s budget, and, although the appropriators ended up choosing to reduce the budget by 1.8 percent, this number pales in comparison with the president’s ask. Unfortunately, not all scientific agencies will escape unscathed from House appropriators. Specifically, agencies focused on climate science are targeted for cuts. House spending bills had NASA’s earth science budget shrinking by 11 percent and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s budget being reduced by 19 percent. To date, House appropriators have yet to release a spending bill for the National Institutes of Health. Despite these numbers, it is important to know that this is only the first stage of the 2018 budget process. Spending bills from the House still have to make it through the Senate budget process prior to Trump signing them into law.

House lawmakers balk at most Trump science cuts in early bills (Science)

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