The Omnibus Spending Bill signed into law by President Trump March 23, 2018 preserves, and in many cases augments, federal funding for science. The accompanying chart, courtesy of the American Institute of Physics, shows approved FY 2018 funding compared to the prior fiscal year and the President’s proposals. EPA funding is flat, while other agencies will have their budgets boosted by more than the rate of inflation. Across the board, approved budgets for science conducted or funded by federal agencies are higher than proposed.
So why are we still marching?
The March for Science is a celebration of science and a show of support for all who engage scientifically in the process of discovery. The bi-partisan Omnibus spending bill gives us another reason to celebrate this spring. It’s tangible evidence that our efforts are paying off, but our work is by no means done.
For starters, the Omnibus Spending Bill only covers federal spending through September 30, 2018. Debate will resume before long on funding levels for FY 2019 and beyond. We want to thank those responsible for robust science funding in the current fiscal year, but the need to push elected officials to continue funding science adequately going forward remains no less urgent.
Furthermore, some federal agencies have recently scrubbed scientific info from their websites for political reasons.
- We don’t think censoring scientific knowledge serves the public interest.
- We don’t think transparency is asking too much.
- We do think that, barring legitimate national security concerns, American taxpayers have a right to information on research they have funded.
Efforts to compromise the role of science in policy making do not stop there. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was reportedly instructed to avoid seven terms, including “science-based” and “evidence-based” in its 2019 budget request. While CDC’s parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, has challenged media reports, we cannot afford to sit back while restrictions on consideration of science in policy making take root.
Join Us April 14, 2018
Denver March for Science is grateful to public officials whose efforts to protect science funding are reflected in the 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill. We’re encouraged that the efforts of all who support peer-reviewed science are bearing fruit. Nonetheless, we also recognize that politically expedient efforts to subjugate science have not ended. More information about our cause is found in our Endorsement Statement. Please join us at our non-partisan March, rally and teach-in on April 14 for a celebration and show of support for science unfettered by any and all political ideologies.