March 17, 2017 Snapshot of Trump's Budget Proposal

The Skinny on the Trump Budget

The Trump Administration released a proposed “skinny budget” for FY 2018. Unlike traditional presidential budget proposals, the 62-page document does not include funding recommendations for each agency and account. However, it does make some specific agency funding and reorganization recommendations. Many of the recommendations appear to be non-starters on Capitol Hill. The entire proposal, which has been titled, “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” is not good news for research and higher education, but we do not anticipate this budget to be enacted by Congress. The chart below depicts some of the proposed cuts and increases for each agency’s budget.


FY17 CR Level

FY18 Skinny Budget



$31.7 billion

$25.9 billion

- $5.8 billion (18%)


$522 billion

$574 billion

+ $52 billion (10%)


$41.3 billion

$44.1 billion

+ $2.8 billion (6.8%)


$28.8 billion

$27.7 billion

- $1.1 billion (3.8%)


$29.7 billion

$28 billion

- $1.7 billion (5.6%)

Dept. of Ed

$68 billion

$59 billion

- $9 billion (13%)

A More Detailed Look at Each Agency

NIH: The proposal “reduces the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) spending relative to the 2017 level by $5.8 billion [about -18%] to $25.9 billion. The budget includes a major reorganization of NIH’s Institutes and Centers to help focus resources on the highest priority research and training activities, including: eliminating the Fogarty International Center; consolidating the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality within NIH; and other consolidations and structural changes across NIH organizations and activities. The Budget also reduces administrative costs and rebalance Federal contributions to research funding.”

DOE: Proposed $900 million cut to the Office of Science, which funds basic research. Rebalance of funding, likely away from climate change research, to "invest in the highest priority basic science and energy research and development as well as operation and maintenance of existing scientific facilities for the community."

NSF: The NSF is not covered in the budget. It is expected to be included in the subsequent detailed budget in May. The NSF has indicated this was to be expected and is not a sign that they are not included for FY 2018 funding.

DOD: The recommendation for FY18 is $629 billion, plus $52 billion from the FY17 CR level. The base budget of $574 billion represents a 10 percent increase from the FY17 CR level. $65 billion will be allocated for Overseas Contingency Operations. Defense sequestration will be repealed by restoring $52 billion to DOD and $2 billion to non-DOD defense programs. The funding focus will be on rebuilding Armed Forces by addressing shortfalls in areas such as insufficient munitions stocks, personnel gaps, deferred maintenance and modernization, cyber vulnerabilities, and degraded facilities. 

DHS: $44.1 billion proposed is a $2.8 billion increase above the CR levels, but is primarily focused on immigration and border security. It includes $1.5 billion for cyberspace to protect federal networks and critical infrastructure. The proposal would reduce funding for FEMA state and local grant programs such as the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program and the Homeland Security Grant Program by $667 million. Similar to FEMA's disaster recovery grants, preparedness grants would now require a 25 percent non-Federal cost match.

Dept. of Education: Proposed $9 billion reduction, including elimination of SEOG, international education, and teacher quality partnership. The budget would keep Pell Grants flat but draw down from the surplus in the program, and would also reduce funding for TRIO and GEAR UP programs.

CDC: Preparedness and Prevention: Reforms key public health, emergency preparedness, and prevention programs. For example, the Budget restructures similar HHS preparedness grants to reduce overlap and administrative costs and directs resources to states with the greatest need. The budget also creates a new Federal Emergency Response Fund to rapidly respond to public health outbreaks, such as Zika Virus Disease.

EPA: Request of $5.7 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, a reduction of $2.6 billion, or 31 percent, from the 2017 annualized budget level.

State Department and U.S. AID: The Trump proposal “eliminates the Global Climate Change Initiative and fulfills the President’s pledge to cease payments to the United Nations’ (UN) climate change programs by eliminating U.S. funding related to the Green Climate Fund and its two precursor Climate Investment Funds.” The Budget also meets U.S. commitments to the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria by providing 33 percent of projected contributions from all donors, consistent with the limit currently in law.”

NOAA: The agency is slated to have $250 million in "targeted" cut in NOAA grants and programs supporting coastal and marine research, including Sea Grant, "which primarily benefit industry and state and local stakeholders. These programs are a lower priority than core functions" like the Weather Service and continuation of satellite development.

NEH & NEA: The President’s budget proposes the elimination of the National Endowment of Humanities and the National Endowment of the Arts, but does not provide any specifics.

Next Steps

The budget will now go to Congress, which has not finished last year’s FY17 funding bills, so the FY18 budget process will take months to play out. There is strong bipartisan support for basic research especially at the NIH. While some have even said the Trump Budget is "dead on arrival," the expected starting point for FY18 will more closely reflect adjustments to the current levels within FY17. We anticipate that Congress will not pass the deep cuts that the President is proposing and, in fact, they will have difficulty passing the funding bills at all. We may end up with a Continuing Resolution, which will keep the government funded at current levels.