The Trump administration released a more detailed version of the President’s FY 2018 budget this week, which includes many of the cuts previously outlined in the budget blueprint released in March. The budget proposes massive cuts to domestic spending that supports education, health, and safety net programs. The budget, if enacted, would shrink the federal role in education, jeopardize the nation’s scientific enterprise, and reduce access to mental and behavioral health services. These cuts will disproportionately impact people living in poverty, people with serious mental illness and other disabilities, women, children, people living with HIV/AIDS, older adults, ethnic and racial minorities, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ community. In short, the President’s budget calls for cuts to almost every major government program that touches psychology.
The budget proposal includes the following cuts:
- $7.2 billion from the National Institutes of Health, approximately 21% from the FY 2017 level, which would result in 1,946 fewer grants. The National Science Foundation would receive a cut of approximately $820 million compared to FY 2017, a cut of 11%.
- Over $600 billion in reductions over the course of the next decade from the Medicaid program could cut off Medicaid benefits for about 7.5 million people. The proposal also includes the option for states to choose between a per capita cap or a block grant beginning in FY 2020. This is particularly alarming as it pertains to persons with serious mental illness as Medicaid is the single largest payer for behavioral health services in the United States, accounting for over 25% of behavioral health spending.
- Elimination of the Graduate Psychology Education Program, the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program, and the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program, which would together reduce mental health workforce training by nearly $100 million.
- Almost $400 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, including a 22% reduction from the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant.
- 14% ($9.2 billion) from the U.S. Department of Education, eliminating investments in educational equity and quality, including after-school, mental health, and school safety programs. The cuts also include slashing other key programs that support gifted students, effective teaching, and professional development.
- Elimination of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and programmatic changes that would prolong repayment periods for students with graduate school loans.
- 13.2% from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, including elimination of the Community Development Block Grant.
- A $200 million reduction to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
- $500 million from the Office of Justice Programs, which represents a 30% reduction of the office’s budget and includes the elimination of 75 employees. The agency administers critical juvenile and criminal justice grants and houses the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Bureau of Justice Assistance, and National Institute of Justice.
The extreme reductions advocated in the President’s budget would severely hinder the work of scientists, educators and clinicians in psychology, and reduce support for the education and training of psychology students. Even if Congress disregards the Trump budget, many members of Congress may use the priorities set by the Trump administration to support their fight for specific cuts. Contact your members of Congress to oppose the large domestic policy cuts and protect the work psychologists do to improve the lives of Americans.
TAKE ACTION: Urge your members of Congress to oppose the Administration’s budget, and to oppose drastic cuts in scientific research, health, education, and other programs.