Dear Daily Cal,
Your article on the potential impact of the budget cuts proposed by President Donald Trump on research at UC Berkeley did an outstanding job in describing the role of federal research dollars on campus. As noted, the budget proposed by President Trump contains significant cuts to critical agencies that fund basic research, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and clean energy programs within the Department of Energy. Not only do these funds support the research efforts of individual students, they also serve to help us fulfill the broader missions of the university.
Though it is the charge of Congress to pass the budget, most federally sponsored research is through the executive branch. Trump’s budget proposal strongly indicates that the current administration does not think that the federal government should invest in scientific research. The fact that the president’s cabinet contains at least three members — Scott Pruitt, the EPA director, Rick Perry, the energy secretary, and Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state – who question the science behind climate change, does not indicate that this philosophy will readily change.
The concern goes beyond budgets and scientific research. As noted in a recent New York Times op-ed by Harald Varmus, Nobel laureate and former director of the National Institutes of Health and of the National Cancer Institute, “This is not about Republicans versus Democrats … It is about a conception of…
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