On May 23, 2017, the White House released its fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget request whereby it proposed to slash funding for federal agencies that support plant science research and education. If enacted, President Trump’s FY 2018 budget would have a catastrophic impact on plant science and the broader U.S. enterprise of scientific innovation. The president’s budget would eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy and includes, relative to the recently enacted FY 2017 omnibus, an $819 million (11%) cut to the National Science Foundation, a $919 million (17%) cut to the Department of Energy Office of Science, and cuts of $277 million (22%) to the Department of Agriculture’s intramural research program and $26 million (6.8%) to the Agriculture Food and Research Initiative. ASPB urges Congress to reject the White House FY 2018 budget proposal.
Given the challenges before the nation with regard to mitigating the impacts of climate change, sustainably feeding the world, and generating new products, new industries, new jobs, and economic growth, the proposed cuts would wreak havoc on the scientific community and its capacity to improve the lives of Americans and stimulate economic growth. Further, a generation of researchers and critically important avenues of scientific inquiry would be lost, along with decades of accumulated scientific investments and effort.
The federally-funded discoveries of plant scientists not only support the development of more nutritious foods and other plant-based products, but they also contribute to our fundamental understanding of life. The research leading to these discoveries takes place at universities, philanthropic organizations, agricultural experiment stations, and other facilities across the country and leverages state and private funding to deliver direct economic impacts at the local, national, and global levels.
ASPB will continue to work with Congress to develop a budget for national research agencies that is responsible and facilitates scientific discovery, innovation, and economic growth.