This post was written by Connor Balough
The White House is proposing $17 billion in spending cuts from levels Congress approved in 2016, focusing on medical research grants, scientific research grants, education and foreign aid, according to a document obtained by The Hill.
Congress failed to pass a budget last year and funded the government through April 28 through a continuing resolution. The White House Office of Management and Budget is proposing billions in cuts to programs that make up a small portion of federal spending but are prized by lawmakers from both parties, according to the document.
Funding levels are ultimately set by Congress, not the president, and White House spending proposals are routinely ignored by lawmakers. Many of the proposed cuts are unlikely to end up in legislation and mirror similar cuts in Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal, already panned by Congress.
The White House’s 2017 proposal would cut $1.23 billion from medical research funded by the National Institutes of Health, $50 million of which from grants to state programs, and $300 million from PEPFAR, an international program to combat HIV and AIDS focused mainly in Africa.
The Energy Department (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would also see major reductions. The proposal would cuts than $516 million from DOE renewable energy research grants, $340 million from DOE fossil fuel research grants, $168 million in nuclear energy research grants and $170 million from innovative technology grants.
EPA cuts include a 10 percent slash ($115 million) to research grants that would be cut by 44 percent in fiscal 2018, and several similarly sized cuts to environmental cleanup and restoration efforts. The proposal also cuts National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Science and Technology research and development grants.
The White House would also eliminate or drastically cut domestic and foreign aid programs it says lack a significant return on investment for taxpayers. These include international food aid and security grants, rural business grants, Community Development Financial Institution grants, the AmeriCorps and Senior Corps services programs, and grants meant to improve literacy and physical education.