Friday Action Item: The budget proposal

“Let us beat our swords into ploughshares,” a sculpture at the United Nations Headquarters in New York that is precisely the opposite of the Trump Administration’s proposed Federal budget — which, yes, would cut the US contribution to the United Nations. (Flickr: United Nations Photo)

*On Fridays [while the current administration is in office]( we’re posting small, concrete things you can do to help make things better. Got a suggestion for an Action Item? [E-mail us](!*
If you so much as glanced at Science Twitter in the last 48 hours, you know that the administration has released an outline of its proposed Federal budget for the next fiscal year, and it’s [catastrophic]( To pay for an utterly unnecessary $54 billion funding boost to the world’s biggest military and still come in smaller than the previous year, the proposal includes unprecedented cuts to agencies and programs that affect us all — it slashes international development and diplomatic work at the State Department, it would entirely eliminate the foundational cultural and educational work of the [National Endowment for the Arts]( and the [Corporation for Public Broadcasting](, and, as though striving for cartoonish callousness, cuts all funds to the Meals on Wheels food-assistance program. [Damage to scientific agencies would include]( a 21% cut from the USDA, 12% from the Department of the Interior, 20% from NIH, and 31% from the EPA. (There’s no specific number for NSF, which may or may not be comforting.)
The good news is, this is all only a proposal. Congress, not the President, defines the final budget, and members of Congress in both parties are [raising objections to the proposal already]( Scuttlebutt on Twitter is that many of them are aware that [the entire budget proposal is a non-starter](, but they can use all the spine-stiffening we can give them. You know [the drill](, I trust.

About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder is an Associate Professor of Biology at California State University Northridge, studying the evolution and coevolution of interacting species, especially mutualists. He is a collaborator with the Joshua Tree Genome Project and the Queer in STEM study of LGBTQ experiences in scientific careers. He has written for the website of Scientific American, the LA Review of Books, the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Awl, and Slate.
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