President’s FY2020 Budget Again Proposes Research Cuts

Mar 15, 2019

The White House released its budget proposal for the upcoming 2020 fiscal year this week, proposing to cut spending on non-defense domestic discretionary programs by an average of 9 percent, and focusing increased spending on defense, homeland security, and infrastructure development. While detailed agency budget figures are slated for release next week, topline numbers largely mirror past requests from the Trump Administration, including proposals for deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and elimination of advanced technology development programs at the Department of Energy (DOE). Key research and development agency highlights are highlighted below.

The President’s budget would cut the overall Department of Energy request by 11 percent, slashing $2.0 billion from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), and eliminating the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) as well as the DOE’s loan guarantee programs for clean energy and vehicle manufacturing innovation. The request includes $5.5 billion for the DOE Office of Science, a 16 percent reduction from FY 2019. The budget requests $158 million for a new Advanced Energy Storage Initiative, an effort that would be jointly led by the Office of Electricity and EERE to advance energy storage R&D as a key to increasing energy security, reliability, and resilience. The Budget also requests $59 million for the Harsh Environment Materials Initiative, a coordinated effort led by the Office of Nuclear Energy and the Office of Fossil Energy, in coordination with the Advanced Manufacturing Office within EERE, to exploit synergies in materials and component manufacturing R&D for advanced thermoelectric power plants.

The EPA would receive a total of $6.1 billion, a 2.8 billion (31 percent) reduction from FY2019. The budget proposes to eliminate several geographic programs, including those related to the Gulf of Mexico, Long Island Sound, South Florida, and San Francisco Bay, as well as cutting the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay watershed programs by 90 percent. The budget also proposes to cut funding for the Energy Star program, establishing user fees for participants instead, and eliminates the Global Change Research office, which studies the impacts of climate change.

The Department of Education would receive a ten percent, bringing the FY2020 total to $62 billion. 29 programs would be eliminated under this new budget. However, the Education Innovation and Research fund receives a $170 million increase, bringing its new total to $300 million, with $100 million going to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) grants. $50 million is also awarded to a pilot program that was created under the Every Students Succeeds Act that helps schools focus money directly on disadvantaged and special needs students.

Other science agency highlights include:

  • $688 million for National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) a 30 percent cut.
  • $7.1 billion for the National Science Foundation, a 12 percent cut.
  • $34 billion for the National Institutes of Health, a 12 percent cut.

For infrastructure investment, the budget proposes $200 billion in new funding. $2 billion would be provided for the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant program, which presents awards for large projects that relieve congestion and mitigate bottlenecks on the Nation’s strategic freight networks, including interstates, freight rail, and ports. This level is a $1 billion increase from the FAST Act-authorized level. The budget also proposes $1 billion for the Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program, which awards surface transportation projects in urban and rural communities across the country. Finally, the proposal includes $300 million for a competitive highway bridge program to incentivize States to rehabilitate or replace rural bridges that are in poor condition, and another $300 million for two innovative approaches to fund water infrastructure investments. This funding would facilitate more local control over authorized Army Corps of Engineers projects and promote novel financing partnerships with non-Federal partners.

Additional budget overview information will be included in next week’s edition of Capitol Update.

To view the President’s Budget Message, visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/budget-fy2020.pdf

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