The fiscal year 2021 budget request that President Trump released on 10 February seeks broad reductions in nondefense spending, including major cuts to R&D programs that echo cuts in his three previous budget proposals. According to summary R&D figures included in the budget, federal support for basic research would drop by 6% to $41 billion, and funding for applied research would drop by 12% to $39 billion. As before, cuts are aimed disproportionately at energy R&D and environmental research programs.
To date, lawmakers in Congress have repeatedly rejected Trump’s proposed cuts and instead increased R&D budgets at many agencies, in some cases to historically high levels. There are, moreover, several bills pending in Congress or in the works that suggest there is a significant bipartisan appetite for even larger boosts to R&D in the years ahead.