Office of the President

March 16, 2017

Proposed budget would be huge step backward for innovation and economic security

Ana Mari Cauce

Today, as anticipated, the President released a proposed federal budget blueprint for Fiscal Year 2018. The proposal is short on details, but it contains sweeping cuts that would harm American innovation and prosperity, the education of our nation’s students, and the research and creativity that is the foundation of progress in every field from medicine to the arts.

Without question, if passed, this budget would harm the University of Washington’s ability to serve our students, state and nation. It represents a major step backward for American scientific research and innovation, and reduces opportunities for millions of deserving young people. With devastating cuts to biomedical research and student aid, and to environmental science and the arts, this shortsighted proposal attacks the very investments that have made the United States healthy and prosperous. This budget is simply unacceptable and together with my fellow higher education leaders, I plan to work actively with Washington’s federal delegation and other congressional leaders to advocate for policies that keep America the global leader in innovation and opportunity.

To take effect, these proposals would have to be approved by Congress and we will be traveling to Washington, DC in early April to meet with administration officials as well as our congressional delegation. Many of the areas proposed for cuts have received strong, bipartisan support in the past, so I am hopeful that we will instead see the federal government continue to invest in the areas that, over the decades, have contributed to America’s prosperity and vitality. To support these efforts, we all can continue to demonstrate the value that every aspect of our University provides to our students, Washington and the world.

The list of affected programs is lengthy – those supporting students, such as TRiO and GEAR UP; those advancing research such as the NIH, Department of Energy, NOAA, NASA, and the EPA; and those creating a rich, vibrant national life, such as the NEA and NEH. The proposal does not reference cuts to the NSF. You can find more information about the specific cuts proposed on the UW Federal Relations blog.

In addition, we’ll also be speaking with our delegation about proposed legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act. The House legislation being considered would have significant negative outcomes for many of the patients who receive care at UW Medicine. If the proposed American Health Care Act were to be fully implemented, UW Medicine could lose an estimated $518 million per year in Medicaid/Medicare reimbursement and charity care costs, with significant impacts to UW Medicine services at Harborview. This would have dramatic effects on our ability to serve our patients and our communities.

Budgets are values made real. And so our nation faces a choice between a future in which our global competitors surge ahead of us, reaping the benefits of their investments in education, medicine, science, the arts and humanities; or a future in which we continue to discover, to teach, to create and to cure. I am fully committed to doing everything I can to ensure that brighter, more prosperous future becomes reality.