On March 11 the administration delivered a “skinny budget” recommending cuts to research programs across the government. Typically shared the first Tuesday of February, the budget request was delayed and incomplete due to the 35-day partial government shutdown.
Here is what the administration requested for key agencies supporting behavioral and brain sciences:
- National Institutes of Health – $34.4 billion, a $4.94 billion (12 percent) cut from fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget of $39.3 billion. (FY2020 Health and Human Services Presidential Budget Request, page 52) Cuts to individual institutes vary, generally ranging from 9 percent for the National Institutes of Drug Abuse to a 14 percent cut to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
- National Science Foundation – $7.1 billion, a $975 million (12 percent) cut from $8.1 billion in FY 2019 final budget. Additional details about the NSF budget are expected to be available on Monday, March 18.
- Institute on Education Sciences – $522 million, a $93 million (15 percent) cut from the FY 2019 final budget. This reflects a request of $186 million for Research, Development, and Dissemination and $54 million for Research in Special Education and eliminating the Regional Educational Laboratories and the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems. (FY 2020 Department of Education Presidential Budget Request, page 47)
While this budget recommends significant cuts, so did the past two budgets proposed by this administration. In both previous years, Congress passed increases for scientific research. The bigger concern for many advocates is how Congress will handle the need to lift the budget caps set into place with the 2011 Budget Control Act. In the absence of a budget deal, nondefense discretionary budget would be reduced by $55 billion in FY2020. Members of Congress in both parties have expressed support for raising the caps, as they have done several times with the Bipartisan Budget Acts in 2013, 2015, and 2018. The harder questions are likely to be how high to raise the caps and if they will maintain parity in increases to defense and non-defense discretionary (NDD) spending. FABBS is a member of several coalitions working to encourage Congress to Raise the Caps and maintain parity. We have signed on to the following letters to Congress:
In addition to NDD United, FABBS participates with broad coalitions to support our budget priorities. These coalitions work together to determine the budget levels necessary for agencies to fulfill their missions. Below please find some of the key coalitions and our FY2020 budget requests for agencies of interest. In addition to other scientific societies, these coalitions represent individual universities as well as groups like AAU and APLU.