President Donald Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 discretionary budget proposal includes deep cuts to some government agencies (State Department to be slashed by 29 percent, EPA by 31 percent) and popular programs (most famously, the Corporation For Public Broadcasting and Meals on Wheels). Less conspicuous than these cuts, although no less insidious, is the Trump administration’s proposed cut to the National Institutes of Health.
Under President Trump’s proposal, the NIH budget, which funds grants to hundreds of thousands of researchers at universities and labs around the world doing cutting edge research on diseases and disorders from cancer to mental illness, would be cut by approximately $6 billion or 19 percent of its 2017 discretionary budget.
To the scientific community, this is a terrifying prospect.
Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said these cuts “would bring American biomedical science to a halt and forever shut out a generation of young scientists. It would take a decade for us to recover and move the world’s center of science from the U.S. to China, Germany, and Singapore, where investments are now robust.”
Cuts of this magnitude will cause American innovation to fall behind the rest of the world. An ironic result for a President who claims to want to make America great.
Joy Hirsch of the Yale School of Medicine says “one of our most valuable natural resources is our science infrastructure and culture of discovery. It takes only one savage blow to halt our dreams of curing diseases such as cancer, dementia, heart failure…this list goes on and on.”