White House Calls for More Cuts to Higher Ed Funding

President Trump made an 11th-hour request for nearly $18 billion in additional spending cuts to education grants, medical research, and other discretionary programs for the remaining 2017 fiscal year budget. The White House on Friday sent House and Senate appropriators detailed instructions on how they should craft spending legislation to fund the federal government beyond April 28, when the current stopgap spending bill expires, reported Politico.

After proposing a $9.2 billion cut to the Education Department's budget for next year, the Trump administration is now calling for a $3 billion cut in agency funding for the remaining months of this fiscal year. The request includes a $1.3 billion reduction to the Pell Grant program's $10.6 billion surplus—on top of the $3.9 billion proposed cut for next fiscal year. Congressional Democrats and student aid advocates have blasted efforts to “raid” the Pell surplus and direct that money outside of financial aid programs.

The Trump plan also calls for reductions this year to other agencies that affect education, including a 3.8 percent cut to the National Institutes of Health, a 5 percent cut to the National Science Foundation, a 10 percent cut to both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a 23.7 percent cut to educational and cultural exchange programs at the State Department.

Some congressional sources told Politico that it is too late in the budget process to follow through on Trump's requested slashing for this fiscal year. Top Congressional appropriators indicated that they are prepared to reject Trump's calls to gut programs they deem important.


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