Trump Budget Proposal Undermines U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness

May 23, 2017

WASHINGTON—The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the top-ranked U.S. science and technology think tank, today released the following statement from Stephen J. Ezell, ITIF vice president for global innovation policy, on the Trump administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2018:

The administration’s budget proposal would undermine America’s long-term growth prospects by slashing investments that are critical to the country’s innovative capacity and to the competitiveness of its most strategically important industries. Especially when it comes to areas ranging from scientific and engineering research to workforce education and skills, congressional leaders should declare the proposal “dead on arrival.” Lawmakers should exercise their constitutional power to approve a budget that better meets the nation’s economic needs.

The United States has suffered for more than a decade from chronic underinvestment in basic science, research and development, and technology commercialization, and from insufficient support for small manufacturers. Further reducing federal investment in these kinds of foundational goods will set back the country even further—undermining economic growth, causing standards of living to stagnate, and putting prosperity at risk for future generations of Americans. Yet the administration’s budget calls for a nearly 10 percent cut for non-defense R&D. The administration needs to recognize there is a big difference between wasteful spending and critical investments that ensure the U.S. economy, citizens, and businesses thrive. Targeted federal government programs of the sort the administration is suggesting Congress cut are widely used by even the most conservative Republican governors to help businesses in their states compete.

ITIF highlighted a number of critical programs that would be particularly damaging to cut in the way the administration has proposed in its budget:

Manufacturing/Economic Development

Manufacturing Extension Partnership. (Proposed budget eliminates the program.)

Manufacturing USA. (Budget provides only $15 million for 2018 for the Department of Commerce.) 

Economic Development Administration. (Eliminates program.)

Trade

U.S. Trade and Development Agency. (Eliminates program.)

Education and Training

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. (Decreases funding by 39 percent.)

21st Century Community Learning Centers. (Eliminates program.)

R&D

National Science Foundation. (Across-board reduction of 11 percent for NSF grant programs.)

Effective 9.7 percent cut in federal investment for non-defense R&D.

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Trump Budget Proposal Undermines U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness