Congress Blocks Trump on cuts to Research Admin Funds

Republican Senators of the House again blocks Trump’s initiative to cut wasteful government spendings. It is ironical that Republicans, including Tea Party Republicans who argue for a frugal and small government, would stick it up to the President. Congress blocks Trump’s cuts on administration funding for research.

Private Universities

While health research is important, the country needs to be frugal in cutting its national debt. The question to ask is should large universities, with huge reserves, be eligible for government funding. Universities like Harvard, MIT and Yale are sitting on billions of dollars while the country itself is cash strapped. Research while important needs to funded smartly.  Universities may also not be sufficiently frugal in spending funds that does not affect their own balance sheet.  There is clearly scope to exclude these private universities to fund their own indirect costs.

Congress Overreach

Not only does the GOP-led Congress reject the President’s proposal, they stick it up to him through an increase in funding.  Their plan disallows the President from tweaking the formulae to calculate the indirect costs. Finally, they reject shutdown of the NIH unit that funds global health threats.  They deliberately place these clauses in the bill that the President Trump needs to sign to fund Harvey victims and raise the debt ceiling.

This is the second time Congress oversteps its legislation mandate and tie the hands of the Executive.  Congress denies the President review of any aspect of the Russian sanctions. Clearly Congress operates outside its legislative mandate and interferes with that of the Executive. White House must push back on these legislative overreaches that deliberately limits the powers of the Executive.

Tom Price, the secretary of health and human services, argues the proposed cuts would not harm research. “About 30 percent of the grant money that goes out is used for indirect expenses, which, as you know, means that that money goes for something other than the research that’s being done,”

Re-election 2018

Trump supporters should note that only Senator James Lankford votes against the Senate Appropriations Committee legislation.  It is because it limits Trump administration’s ability to change rules for federal grants to family planning clinics. All other Republican Senators on the Appropriations Committees should not get any support at their next re-election.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/11/us/politics/national-institutes-of-health-budget-trump.html

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