Current Federal Funding Landscape

Get updates about the current federal funding landscape, including the state of budget and appropriations and the implications on geoscience.

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Drastic Cuts to Science in President’s More Detailed FY2018 Budget (24 May 2017)

Check back for more details about the President’s budget.



FY17 Omnibus

FY18 President’s Budget Request

Percent Change FY18 Request vs FY17 Omnibus



$28,042.00 -8.91%

Office of Science








Biological & Environmental Research




Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy




*DOE budget in millions of dollars, rounded to the nearest million

Notable Provisions

The President’s budget proposes an overall reduction of 9% from FY2017 for DOE. However, most research programs will see more drastic cuts under the Administration’s plan.

The Office of Science would see a 17% reduction under the President’s budget, including cuts to the Basic energy Sciences (BES) program, the Biological and Environmental Research program, and Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists (WDTS). However, the Advanced Scientific Computing Research program would receive about a 9% increase over FY2017.

The budget also phases out the Advanced Research Project Agency –  Energy (ARPA-E), which was zeroed out in the budget blueprint. The budget allocates $20 million to manage on-going projects through completion by FY2021 and close the office.

The Fossil Energy and Development (FER&D) program will also see significant cuts under the Administration’s plan – at 58.1% reduction. Particularly facing cuts in FER&D are carbon capture and storage subprograms. Additionally, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will also face massive cuts, a reduction of nearly $1.5 billion from FY2017. In contrast to these proposed cuts, the National Nuclear Security Administration at DOE would receive additional funds under the President’s budget.

Overall, the budget estimates that the Department of Energy will support over 27,000 people in FY 2018.

For more, see the DOE budget highlights and full budget request here.

*The budget requests -$26 million due to a $20 million allocation and a cancellation of $46 million

Environmental Protection Agency – $5.7 BILLION OR 31% DECREASE FROM FY2017 FUNDING LEVELS

Program FY17 Omnibus FY18 President’s Budget Request Percent Change FY18 Request vs FY17 Omnibus
Overall $8,058.49 $5,700.00 -29.27%
Science and Technology $713.82 $397.00 -44.38%
Environmental Programs and Management $2,619.80 $1,617.00 -38.28%

*EPA budget in millions of dollars, rounded to the nearest million

Notable Provisions:

The President’s budget proposes an overall reduction in EPA funding by 31% relative to FY2017.

The agency’s Science and Technology programs would see nearly a 45% reduction under the President’s budget, including cuts to research in the Air and Energy, Water Resources, Community Sustainability, and Chemical Safety programs.

The President’s budget also seeks to create a leaner federal workforce by reducing FTE (full time equivalents) by almost 25% in FY2018.

For more, see the EPA budget highlights and full budget request here.


Program FY17 Omnibus FY18 President’s Budget Request Percent Change FY18 Request vs FY17 Omnibus
Overall $19,653.30 $19,052.90 -3.05%
Overall Science $5,765.90 $5,711.80 -0.94%
Earth Science $1,921.00 $1,754.10 -8.69%
Planetary Science $1,846.00 $1,929.50 4.52%
Heliophysics $678.50 $677.80 -0.10%
James Webb Space Telescope $569.40 $533.70 -6.27%
Education $100 $37.30 -62.7%

*NASA budget in millions of dollars, rounded to the nearest million

Notable Provisions:

The President’s budget officially terminates the Asteroid Redirect Mission, which was unpopular with Congress, but continues many of the key technologies in development for the mission.

Within the Science Mission Directorate, Earth Science Mission was hit especially hard in the President’s budget. The budget calls for the termination of 5 Earth science missions, including: PACE, OCO-3, RBI, DSCOVR Earth-viewing instruments, and CLARREO Pathfinder. The budget does provide funding for Landsat 9, and the accelerated FY 2021 launch.

The President’s budget provides full funding for a Jupiter flyby mission, the 2018 launch of InSight, the Mars 2020 Mission, and the Discovery Asteroid missions, Lucy and Psyche.

The James Webb Space Telescope received a planned decrease in funding in preparation for it’s launch in 2018.

Within Heliophysics, the budget does propose full funding for the Solar Probe Plus and the Solar Orbiter Collaboration.

The budget also proposes the elimination of the NASA Education Office, with the proposed funding being used to phase out the office by 2019. This is sure to receive strong pushback from Congress, who appropriated $100 million for the office earlier this month.

For more, see the NASA budget highlights and full budget request here.


Program FY17 Omnibus FY18 President’s Budget Request Percent Change FY18 Request vs FY17 Omnibus
Overall $7,472.22 $6,652.89 -10.96%
Research & Related Activities $6,033.65 $5,361.65 -11.14%
Education & Human Resources $880.00 $760.55 -13.57%
Major Research Equipment & Facilities $209.00 $182.80 -12.54%
National Science Board $4.37 $4.37 0.00%
Office of Inspector General $15.20 $15.01 -1.25%
Agency Operations & Award Management $330.00 $328.51 -0.45%

*NSF budget in millions of dollars, rounded to the nearest million

Notable Provisions:

In line with the 11% decrease in funding for NSF overall, the Geosciences Directorate received a 10.6% decrease in funding.

In accordance with a decision made by the National Science Board (NSB) and NSF last year, the Office of Polar Programs was removed from the Geosciences Directorate and restored to the Director’s office.

Within the Directorate, areas of major investment including: Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER), Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (NSF INCLUDES), Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE), and Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) received decreases in funding.  However, increases in funding were proposed for the Innovations at the Nexus of the Food, Energy, Water System (INFEWS)  and the Risk and Resilience programs.

The president’s budget proposes to cut facilities within the Geosciences Directorate by 15.1%; including an almost 15% cut for the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and a 43.6% cut for the Ocean Observatories Initiative.

Overall, the budget estimates that the Geosciences Directorate will support 11,900 people or 689 less than in FY 2016.

For more, see the NSF budget highlights and full budget request here.


NOAA budget in millions of dollars, rounded to the nearest million: 
Program FY17 Omnibus FY18 President’s Budget Request Percent Change FY18 Request vs FY17 Omnibus
Overall $5,675.00 4,775.30 -15.85% 
National Ocean Service (NOS) $521.10 $387.00 -25.73%
National Marine and Fisheries Service (NMFS) $851.54 $821.00 -3.59% 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) $514.13 $350.00 -31.92% 
OAR Climate Research Program $158.00 $128.00 -18.99%
National Weather Service (NWS) $1,121.57 $1,059.00 -5.58%
NESDIS $2,203.60 $1,816.00 -17.59%
Mission Support $261.47 $234.00 -10.51%
Office of Marine and Aviation Operations $297.93 $300.68 0.92%

*NOAA budget in millions of dollars, rounded to the nearest million

Notable Provisions: 

NOAA’s topline budget received a 16% cut in President Trump’s budget request, aligning with previous messaging around his skinny budget that was released in March.

NOAA’s Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) saw the largest percentage cut in the proposal, with a decrease of 32%. Within OAR, NOAA’s Climate Research program received a 19% cut. This is particularly notable because last Congress, the House CJS Bill also called for approximately a 20% cut, but that funding was restored in the FY17 Omnibus. Within OAR’s Climate Research program, the budget called for the elimination of Arctic Research.

The National Ocean Service (NOS) also received a substantial 26% cut in the budget. Additionally, the Administration proposed the elimination of the Sea Grant Program, which provides research opportunities and partnerships with 33 universities.

Also of note was an 18% cut in NOAA’s Satellite Division, NESDIS. Some of that is due to planned reductions as programs ramp down, such as the GOES-R satellite series. However, NOAA’s new generation of polar orbiting satellites received substantial cuts that were not planned. The JPSS-1 satellite is set to launch in September 2017, followed by JPSS-2 and the Polar Follow On (JPSS-3 and 4). While the PFO received $329 million in FY17, and was projected to require $586 million in FY18, President Trump’s FY18 request was only for $180 million. Additionally, projections for the next 4 years were shown as “TBD” in the president’s budget.

Also in NESDIS, the President’s budget called for decreases for NOAA’s plans to replace its Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). The FY17 omnibus called for initiating a Space Weather Follow-on for two satellites following DSCOVR, and allocated $5 million for this initiative. In the FY17 bill, Congress projected that the Space Weather Follow-on receive $53.7 million in FY18. However, the administration has proposed only $500,000 for the follow-on program in FY18. This is especially notable because the Senate just passed the bipartisan Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act, with the goal of improving space weather forecasting.

For more, see the NOAA budget highlights and full budget request here.


Program FY17 Omnibus FY18 President’s Budget Request Percent Change FY18 Request vs FY17 Omnibus
Overall $1,085.12 $922.17 -15.02% 
Ecosystems $159.73 $132.13 -17.28% 
Climate & Land Use Change $149.28 $112.85 -24.41% 
Energy, Minerals, & Environmental Health $94.31 $91.51 -2.97% 
Natural Hazards $145.01 $118.11 -18.55% 
Water Resources $214.75 $173.04 -19.42%
Core Science Systems $116.05 $92.97 -19.89% 
Admin & Enterprise Information (Science Support) $105.61 $89.37 -15.38% 
Facilities $100.42 $112.19 11.72%

*USGS budget in millions of dollars, rounded to the nearest million

Notable Provisions

USGS’ topline budget saw a 15% cut in President Trump’s FY18 budget request. The largest cut came out of the Land Resources mission area, which also received a title change from its previous name, “Climate and Land Use Change”. Land Resources, which oversees the agency’s climate change research and Earth observation and manages the USGS’ remote sensing programs,  saw a decrease of 24% in the Trump budget.

The budget request also would eliminate the program’s climate research activities, including research into how land-use change is affecting global greenhouse gas emissions. Models or data sets tracking how landscapes, wildlife, and fisheries are being affected by climate change would be killed.

Core Science Systems received a 20% cut in the administration’s FY18 request, followed by a 19% cut to Natural Hazards and Water Resources.

The budget request would eliminate the USGS Geomagnetism Program (a $1.9 million/year program with 12 full-time equivalent employee positions and which supports the operation of 14 magnetic observatories in the United States and Territories).

Additionally, the USGS Ecosystem mission saw a 17% cut followed by a 15% cut to Science Support.

The only portion of the USGS budget which would see an increase in the FY18 President’s budget request was facilities, which received a bump of 12% in the request.

For more, see the USGS budget highlights and full budget request here.

President Releases Skinny Budget for FY2018 (16 March 2017)

The numbers included below are in comparison to current funding levels, which are those that were passed in the most recent omnibus spending bill.

The White House recently released its budget proposing the following cuts:

  • DOE: The Administration indicates that it would invest in “high” priority basic research and development, while also “saving” $900 million in the Office of Science. “High priority” basic research is not defined, and the process for saving $900 million (i.e., elimination of programs) is unclear.
  • NASA: The Administration indicates that NASA should eliminate the Pre-Aerosol, Clouds, and Ocean Ecosystem (PACE) Earth science mission, a mission recommended in the last Earth Science decadal survey by the National Research Council. Through its instrumentation suite, PACE will help monitor oil spills and the detection of harmful algal blooms. These blooms have a significant negative impact on ocean ecology, human health, and fisheries that support the economies of the Gulf and lower Atlantic states.
  • NSF: 93% of funding for NSF goes to directly funding investigator-led research, institutions, and STEM initiatives. An almost 10% cut to NSF will result in fewer research opportunities for our next generation of STEM professionals; the decline of scientific endeavors in the unique Antarctic environment; and less likelihood that the next transformational scientific discovery, such as the potential of shale oil and gas or GPS, will be an American discovery.
  • NOAA: The proposed budget would cut the Department of Commerce, which contains NOAA, by $1.5 billion. While there has not yet been an official topline budget number requested for the agency, the budget does call for concerning cuts to NOAA programs. Specifically, a $250 million cut to grants and programs supporting coastal and marine management, research, and education, including Sea Grant. The Administration states that these programs are a “lower priority than core functions maintained in the budget such as surveys, charting, and fisheries management.” The budget also seeks to maintain development of the GOES-R and JPSS satellite programs, while potentially cutting funding for the Polar Follow On program with the intention of “reflecting the actual risk of a gap in polar satellite coverage,” and expanding the utilization of commercially provided data. Finally, the budget includes an investment of “more than $1 billion” for the National Weather Service. Currently, the NWS has a budget of $1.12 billion, so this language could imply as much as a 10% cut, flat funding, or a budget increase.
  • USGS: The budget provides “more than $900 million” for USGS “to focus investments in essential science programs,” including the Landsat 9 ground system, and research and data collection that informs sustainable energy development, responsible resource management, and natural hazard risk reduction. This would be the lowest funding level for USGS since 2002.

The Administration’s proposed budget is not only detrimental to decades of scientific research and progress but will also negatively impact the safety, security, health, and economic well-being of citizens around the globe, including millions within the United States.  Read AGU’s response to the President’s Budget Blueprint here.


Actions You Can Take:

  • Visit AGU’s Policy Action Center to write your members of Congress about the critical importance of science agencies to progress, innovation, and serving the basic needs of the American public.
  • Schedule  setting up meetings with your members of Congress
  • Share the value of your science on our everyday lives with your community or share your story with us.

Past fiscal years: