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Cuts Proposed

The Trump administration is pursuing a $6 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health budget for fiscal year 2018, according to the budget proposal released yesterday.

This proposed 18 percent decrease in NIH funding includes a $1 billion cut in funding to the National Cancer Institute budget; a $575 million decrease in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funding; and an $838 million cut to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases budget, as GenomeWeb has reported. The budget proposal also seeks to eliminate the Fogarty International Center and cap what NIH can pay in indirect costs.

In addition, the Trump administration budget proposal seeks to cut the Food and Drug Administration's funding by 30 percent and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's budget by 17 percent, GenomeWeb adds.

"What we see is not just a reduction in government programs," Rush Holt, a former congressman who is now the CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, tells the Los Angeles Times. "What we see is a failure to invest in America."

"Funding science is not just about the employment of scientists," he adds. "Science and technology have been the source of economic growth for decades."

As NPR notes, the proposal hews closely to what the administration proposed in its "skinny budget" earlier this year.

However, as GenomeWeb points out, Congress has resisted cutting biomedical research funding. Rather than adhering to the administration's call earlier this year for cutting the NIH budget, Congress actually gave it a boost of $2 billion in a spending bill for the current fiscal year that Trump signed.

NPR says that "no one thinks the president's budget will pass as proposed," as the budget authority rests with Congress. But, it adds, the proposal will serve as a starting point for negotiations.