Donald Trump’s budget plans will “cripple” science in the US, cutting funds for research into cures for diseases, new forms of energy and climate change, the world’s largest scientific society has warned.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) condemned proposals to make swingeing cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and programmes run by the Department of Energy and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Congress could still decide to make changes to the budget.
While the Trump administration has been expected to slash climate change-related spending, the plan to slash the NIH’s budget was somewhat unexpected.
It funds biomedical research carried out by universities in the US. But it now faces a $5.8bn (£4.7bn) cut, which is just under a fifth of its current $30bn (£24bn) discretionary budget.
NOAA would be forced to scrap some marine and coastal management research, Nasa would have to drop a satellite programme that monitors the Earth’s climate and solar storms and the Energy Department would have to stop funding Advanced Research Project Agency research into energy from biofuels and new kinds of batteries.
Dr Rush Holt, the AAAS’s chief executive, said: “The Trump administration’s proposed budget would cripple the science and technology enterprise through short-sighted cuts to discovery science programs and critical mission agencies alike.
“Investments in federal research and development make significant contributions to economic growth and public well-being.
“The administration’s cuts threaten our nation’s ability to advance cures for disease, maintain our technological leadership, ensure a more prosperous energy future, and train the next generation of scientists and innovators to address the complex challenges we face today and in the future.”
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
The controversial orders Donald Trump has already issued
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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer takes questions during the daily press briefing
2/8 Trump and the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Union leaders applaud US President Donald Trump for signing an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations during a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington DC
3/8 Trump and the Mexico wall
People protest against US President Donald Trump's inauguration next to a fake wall with a Mexican national flag and a dummy representing him in Mexico City
4/8 Trump and the Mexico wall
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5/8 Trump and abortion
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order as Chief of Staff Reince Priebus looks on in the Oval Office of the White House
6/8 Trump and the Dakota Access pipeline
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7/8 Trump and the Dakota Access pipeline
US actress and political activist Jane Fonda attends a rally with opponents of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines as they protest US President Donald Trump's executive orders advancing their construction, at Columbus Circle in New York
8/8 Trump and 'Obamacare'
Nancy Pelosi who is the minority leader of the House of Representatives speaks beside House Democrats at an event to protect the Affordable Care Act in Los Angeles, California. The Republican-led US Senate has launched their much-anticipated effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act by passing a budget blueprint which would allow them to begin rolling back the health care reforms
He appealed to Congress to prevent this from happening.
“Congress has a long bipartisan history of protecting research investments,” Dr Holt said.
“We encourage Congress to act in the nation’s best interest and support sustainable funding for federal research and development – for both defence and non-defence programmes – as it works to address the 2018 budget.”
Nasa’s acting Administrator, Robert Lightfoot, said its funding was “in line with our funding in recent years, and will enable us to effectively execute our core mission for the nation, even during these times of fiscal constraint”.
“While the budget and appropriation process still has a long way to go, this budget enables us to continue our work with industry to enhance government capabilities, send humans deeper into space, continue our innovative aeronautics efforts and explore our universe,” he said.
“Overall science funding is stable, although some missions in development will not go forward and others will see increases.
“We remain committed to studying our home planet and the universe, but are reshaping our focus within the resources available to us — a budget not far from where we have been in recent years, and which enables our wide ranging science work on many fronts.”
At the AAAS's annual meeting in Boston in February, there were protests as some delegates expressed fears the Trump administration was 'anti-science', particularly regarding global warming.
Some even suggested the US could become like Soviet Russia, where ideology was so powerful that hard evidence could not contradict it.
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