Trump Budget Starves Science and Education at Worst Possible Time


For Immediate Release: March 11, 2019
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
press@centerforinquiry.org - (207) 358-9785

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Billions of dollars in federal cuts to science and public education would significantly hinder America’s capacity for dealing with 21st-century challenges, said the Center for Inquiry in response to in the Trump administration’s 2020 budget request. CFI also warned that the proposed cuts would thwart the progress of scientific breakthroughs that improve and enrich the lives of all Americans.

According to news reports, the White House’s FY 2020 budget request slashes funds for federal science-related agencies and government-funded scientific projects, including a 9 percent cut to the National Science Foundation, a 12 percent cut to the National Institutes of Health, a 2.3 percent cut to NASA’s overall budget, with the elimination of two missions for the study of climate change and no funds whatsoever for the WFIRST telescope that would search for distant planets and “dark energy.” The budget would also kill three crucial environmental programs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aimed at coastal research and restoration and curtailing the extinction of salmon in the Pacific Northwest.

“Crippling the country’s ability to conduct scientific research is always a bad idea, but these cuts at this time in our history show an astounding lack of attention and concern to the scientific challenges of our time,” said Jason Lemieux, the Center for Inquiry’s Director of Government Affairs. “Communities are scrambling to deal with outbreaks of infectious diseases that were once thought eradicated. The impacts of climate change are reverberating across the country and the planet in the form of extreme weather, drought, and uncontainable forest fires.”

“At the same time, cutting-edge science places us on the cusp of world-changing discoveries in medicine, genetics, and the exploration of the cosmos,” said Lemieux. “The challenges of today and the opportunities of tomorrow require a much greater investment in science and education. To instead weaken them is to weaken America.”

The Trump cuts go even further, however, also siphoning up to $50 billion in federal funds from public education to voucher schemes for private and religious schools, as well as $30 million to the District of Columbia’s voucher system.

“Starving public education for the sake of unaccountable private and religious schools is a surefire way to make certain American students are left behind in a fast-changing world. A quality secular public education system is how we ensure a bright future for the next generation of American leaders,” said Lemieux. “If the administration gets what it wants in this budget, our future will be that much darker.”

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The Center for Inquiry strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at centerforinquiry.org.