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The Trump Administration released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget request on Tuesday. As expected, the request proposes a number of cuts to programs and accounts that are important to the research and higher ed communities. Our higher ed associations quickly expressed their concerns (APLU, AAU, The Science Coalition, AAAS) and the University of Illinois System signed onto a multi-organization letter expressing similar concerns.

LEGISLATIVE OUTLOOK
White House Releases Full FY2018 Budget Request

Below is a rundown of some of the budget takeaways. The proposed budget calls for the following:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): $26.9 billion (21% cut from FY17)
    • Additionally, the budget proposes capping the reimbursement of facilities and administrative costs on all types of NIH grants at 10 percent of “total research.” 
  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $6.7 billion (an overall cut of 11% from FY17)
    • This includes an 11% cut for Research & Related Activities and a 14% cut for Education and Human Resources.
  • Department of Energy (DOE): $28 billion (8.7% cut from FY17)
    • Office of Science: $4.5 billion (17% cut from FY17).
    • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: $636 million (70% cut from FY17).
    • Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E): zeroed out.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): $1.3 billion for the National Institute of Food & Agriculture (NIFA) (a 7.8% cut from FY17):
    • Agriculture & Food Research Initiative (AFRI): $349.3 million (6.8% cut from FY17).
  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): zeroed out.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): $4.8 billion (18% cut from FY17).
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): $19.1 billion (3% cut from FY17).
  • Department of Education (ED):
    • Pell Grant: it calls for freezing the maximum individual Pell award at $5,920 (no inflation adjustments); it supports Year-Round Pell (YRP); it would draw $3.9 billion from the Pell surplus for deficit reduction; $3.1 billion in existing mandatory funds are being repurposed for YRP.
    • Federal Work-Study: reduced to $500 million (49.5% cut from FY17)
    • Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN): reduced to $5.8 million (79.4% cut from FY17)
    • Title VI International Education and Foreign Language Studies: zeroed out.

While the budget request sets the stage for FY2018 spending discussions, there is still a long road ahead, with four months left in the current fiscal year. A number of members of Congress have already expressed concerns about the proposed cuts. Appropriators, who have scheduled budget hearings with agency heads, will be responsible for drafting the appropriations bills, and Congress will ultimately need to approve those bills.

OGR's advocacy for the U of I System's FY2018 funding priorities is well underway, and we will continue to work closely with the Illinois delegation to underscore the value of the agencies and programs we care about.

F&A Hearing Highlights

The House Science Committee held a joint hearing this week, bringing together the Subcommittee on Research and Technology (R&T) and the Subcommittee on Oversight to examine the overhead cost of research (Facilities & Administrative costs). Illinois had strong leadership representation at the hearing, with Rep. Dan Lipinski's role as the ranking member (top Democrat) of the R&T subcommittee and Rep. Darin LaHood's role as the Chairman of the oversight subcommittee. During his opening statement, Rep. Lipinski highlighted the important role of F&A in the research enterprise, specifically mentioning the impact at Urbana:

“...At the University of Illinois, in FY 2016, only 76% of actual indirect costs incurred on NSF grants were reimbursed, meaning that the university contributed $9.1 million of its own funds to close the indirect cost gap for its NSF grants alone."

"...the University of Illinois is home to the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment, an NSF-funded user facility that supports other universities, research facilities, and NSF-funded projects around the country and the world. As with all NSF-funded projects at the U of I, the facility’s overhead costs are partially subsidized by the university, representing a contribution by the university to the national research infrastructure.”

Rep. LaHood referenced the Blue Waters supercomputer at Urbana, and how it enables research institutions to "conduct innovative research that helps empower scientists and researchers across the world by informing novel research initiatives." Rep. Randy Hultgren, who serves on the R&T subcommittee, asked a helpful question about how regulatory compliance contributes to the costs of F&A.

In Case You Missed It...
  • William Adams announced his resignation as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Click here to read more.
  • The Trump administration has created a committee at the Department of Education to "improve the effectiveness, efficiency and accountability" of the Department. This is in response to an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memo, triggered by White House executive order directing OMB to submit a comprehensive plan to reorganize Executive Branch departments and agencies. 

Thank you,

OGR Federal Relations

Paul Weinberger and Melissa Haas