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White House budget proposal tightens the screws on science, from space to salmon

12 Mar 2019, 03:32 UTC
White House budget proposal tightens the screws on science, from space to salmon
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An artist’s conception shows NASA’s Space Launch System in flight. (NASA Illustration)
The White House’s spending plan for fiscal year 2020 aims to give a boost to the Space Force, but would dial down work on NASA’s Space Launch System, zero out the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, leave salmon in the lurch and slash science spending on other fronts.
When it comes to outer space, the brightest spotlight falls on lunar exploration and space commercialization — which is in line with the priorities of the National Space Council, headed by Vice President Mike Pence. And when it comes to earthly realms in science and technology, artificial intelligence and quantum computing shine.
It’s important to remember, however, that every year’s budget request is pronounced “dead on arrival” by critics in Congress. That’s particularly so this year, with Democrats in control of the House.
“President Trump has somehow managed to produce a budget request even more untethered from reality than his past two,” House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said after today’s release. If history is any guide, Congress could well save research programs — and the Space Launch System, or SLS — from the most draconian cuts.
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