Minority Views and Estimates of the Democratic Caucus of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on the FY 2018 Budget Request for Submission to the Budget Committee

We have been asked to provide our views on the President 's Fiscal Year 2018 budget request, even though the President 's budget request has not yet been delivered to Congress. Consequently, we will focus on the importance of committing to robust and sustained investments in R&D, innovation, and education as part of any Budget Resolution prepared by Congress. We will not attempt to engage in a detailed discussion of recommended funding levels for specific programs.

Although the details on the President 's "budget blueprint" i.e., proposed budget, are few and far between, what we know so far from the information that has come out is quite concerning. One thing that we do know is that non-defense discretionary spending will be slashed. The President's proposal to increase defense spending by $54 billion and cut non-defense discretionary spending by the same amount, while exempting a number of non-R&D accounts, will inevitably force cuts that will be detrimental to our R&D, education, and innovation programs. Given the criticality of these programs to our future economy and quality of life, shortchanging these accounts is shortsighted and reckless.

In addition, we must invest in emerging areas of science and technology now to ensure that the United States remains preeminent in new and exciting fields.  One such example is the field of artificial intelligence (Al). AI systems will profoundly affect a growing set of decision-based activities in commerce, society, and government.  There are other equally exciting areas of research that are emerging, and it is vitally important that the Budget Resolution provide resources for the investments needed to make scientific advances and to promote U.S. leadership in these areas.

We urge the Budget Committee, as it works to craft its Budget Resolution, at a minimum to maintain in constant dollars and hopefully increase the levels of federal investment in our nation's scientific, innovation , and education enterprise. This requires investing in our research agencies, NASA, NOAA, NSF, EPA, DOE, and others that help enhance America's economic strength, address our national priorities, advance knowledge, and inspire our youth.