Why Slashing the NIH Budget Is Indefensible

Why Slashing the NIH Budget Is Indefensible

Why Slashing the NIH Budget Is Indefensible

We can’t afford to defund the vital efforts that could help solve some of our greatest challenges, from cancer to climate change.


In January 1970, the organizers of the first Earth Day published a full-page ad in The New York Times. A few months ahead of thousands of demonstrations and teach-ins across the United States, they declared that Earth Day represented “a commitment to make life better,” “to provide real rather than rhetorical solutions,” and “to challenge the corporate and government leaders who promise change, but who short change the necessary programs.” They continued, “April 22 seeks a future.”

Nearly half a century later, the scientific community is once again issuing a call to action. When the world commemorates the 48th Earth Day this weekend, the occasion will be marked by March for Science rallies nationwide and around the globe. At a time when facts and science are under attack, the organizers hope to send a loud and clear message that “science is a vital feature of a working democracy.” Denouncing policies that “threaten to further restrict scientists’ ability to research and communicate their findings,” they warn that “we face a possible future where people not only ignore scientific evidence, but seek to eliminate it entirely.”

One of the most threatening of those policies is in President Trump’s budget blueprint: a cut of nearly $6 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As the Post reported last month, the proposal would slash roughly a fifth of NIH’s funding in fiscal year 2018, “a seismic disruption in government-funded medical and scientific research.” The administration has also proposed a separate $1.2 billion reduction in the remainder of this year’s NIH funding, along with severe cuts to the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other programs, to pay for a border wall and higher defense spending.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read. It’s just one of many examples of incisive, deeply-reported journalism we publish—journalism that shifts the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media. For nearly 160 years, The Nation has spoken truth to power and shone a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug.

In a critical election year as well as a time of media austerity, independent journalism needs your continued support. The best way to do this is with a recurring donation. This month, we are asking readers like you who value truth and democracy to step up and support The Nation with a monthly contribution. We call these monthly donors Sustainers, a small but mighty group of supporters who ensure our team of writers, editors, and fact-checkers have the resources they need to report on breaking news, investigative feature stories that often take weeks or months to report, and much more.

There’s a lot to talk about in the coming months, from the presidential election and Supreme Court battles to the fight for bodily autonomy. We’ll cover all these issues and more, but this is only made possible with support from sustaining donors. Donate today—any amount you can spare each month is appreciated, even just the price of a cup of coffee.

The Nation does not bow to the interests of a corporate owner or advertisers—we answer only to readers like you who make our work possible. Set up a recurring donation today and ensure we can continue to hold the powerful accountable.

Thank you for your generosity.

Ad Policy