The Trump administration’s requested fiscal year 2018 budget, released this week, proposes reductions in funding in aspects of education, health care and research—areas with possible implications for communication sciences and disorders. There is, however, proposed new funding for a school-choice grant program.
Like all presidential budgets, it next undergoes consideration by Congress. ASHA expects that it will likely change considerably as it works its way through both houses of Congress.
The Trump FY18 budget request would eliminate 22 programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education—totaling more than $5.1 billion annually. The administration also proposes major changes in how students finance, pay back, and are forgiven debt for higher education. The federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program would be eliminated. This program forgives student debt to individuals who make 120 payments and work in public-service settings for 10 years.
Separately, the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) state grants are slated to be cut by $113 million compared with FY17, dropping the federal share of funding special education from 16 percent to 15 percent. Total funding for Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act would go up with a newly proposed $1 billion school-choice grant program called Further Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS).
The president’s budget call for $655 billion in cuts to programs under the Department of Health and Human Services—with most of the cuts coming from a proposal to curb federal outlays to the Medicaid program. The budget calls for a federal block grant or per capita payment to states to run their Medicaid programs.
Also proposed is elimination of the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program and programs related to autism and other developmental disorders. The budget calls for a modest increase in funding that states receive through the Maternal and Child Health Block grant—and notes that states could continue to support programs such as EHDI through this block grant.
This budget request would cut NIH funding by $5.6 billion in FY18, reversing recent increases passed by Congress. For the National Institute for Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), the requested FY18 budget would be about $325.85 million, a total that is $109 million less than in FY17. In supporting documents, the funding reduction is attributed to a new method for calculating the indirect costs associated with research grants.
“NIH will implement reforms to release grantees from the costly and time-consuming indirect rate setting process and reporting requirements,” the request states. “Applying a uniform indirect cost rate to all grants mitigates the risk for fraud and abuse because it can be simply and uniformly applied to grantees. The Budget includes this critical reform to reduce indirect costs and preserve more funding for direct science.”
Materials on the entire FY 2018 budget request can be found on the White House website.
Ingrida Lusis is ASHA’s director of federal and political advocacy.