NASA soars and others plummet in Trump’s budget proposal
US research on artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing would see dramatic boosts in funding for 2021, under a proposed budget released by the White House on 10 February. The budget request issued by President Donald Trump makes cuts across most science agencies for the 2021 fiscal year, which begins on 1 October 2020. Although Congress has repeatedly rebuffed such requests for cuts — and has, in fact, increased science spending in the enacted budgets — the 132-page document from the White House offers a view into the administration’s priorities and ambitions leading up to the November election.
Among US agencies that fund and conduct research, NASA would see big gains. The National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Energy (DOE), among others, are slated for budget reductions.
“Trump is being Trump,” says Michael Lubell, a physicist at the City College of New York who tracks federal science-policy issues. All of Trump’s budgets have sought to slash funding for the US research enterprise, but he has yet to convince lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Lubell says. “He can ask for what he wants, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.”