HomeWashington Letter2019 ▶ Trump Proposes Significant Cuts to Health and Environmental Programs in Proposed FY2020 Budget
Trump Proposes Significant Cuts to Health and Environmental Programs in Proposed FY2020 Budget

On March 11, President Trump released his proposed fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget. The budget proposes steep funding reductions to many U.S. agencies, including to the Department of Health and Human Services, with many agencies seeing recommended reductions of 9 - 15 percent. It is important to note, however, that the President’s budget serves as a guideline of the administration’s priorities, but it is Congress that allocates all annual government spending, not the administration. We expect that Congress will reject much of the President’s FY2020 budget as it has done with this administration’s previous annual budgets.


The budget released this week is a budget-in-brief and so does not include details for all programs that the ATS monitors. Full program level budget proposals will be released the week of March 18. Specifically, for NIH, the President’s budget recommends a drastic funding reduction of $4.7 billion, or 12 percent from the current FY2019 funding of $39 billion down to $34.3 billion. For the CDC, the FY2020 budget recommends a funding reduction of about $900 million from current funding of $7.9 billion down to $7 billion.  The budget provides $190 million for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a cut of $146 million.  CDC programs such as the asthma and TB program budgets will be available later this week. Below are some institute-specific funding levels:

NIH Institute FY2020 Proposed Budgets:

  • $3.003 billion for NHLBI, a $486 million cut.
  • $4.754 billion for NIAID, a $769 million cut.
  • $2,473 billion for the NIGMS, a $400 million cut.
  • $667 million for the NIEHS, a $108 million cut. 

The NIH budget highlights the following specific research priorities for the agency:

  • $1.3 billion for opioid and pain research across NIH, including $500 million for the Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL) initiative.
  • $50 million to study childhood cancers.
  • $100 million to continue the Supporting the Next Generation Researchers Initiative, begun under the 2017 21st Century Cures Act.
  • Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S., $6 million specified for NIH.
  • Universal flu vaccine – no specific funding outlined.

The proposed budget also includes several proposed legislative and regulatory changes to the Medicare program for FY2020.  Of particular concern is a proposal to add ventilators and orthotics to the next round of competitive bidding starting 2021.  If implemented, this proposal is expected to cut Medicare expenditures by $6.1 billion over 10 years.

EPA and VA Research Program

The FY2020 budget proposes a $2.8 billion or 31 percent decrease for the EPA, from the agency’s 2019 budget of $8.9 billion down to $6.1 billion. The VA Research program is slated for a $17 million or 2.2 percent funding reduction from $779 million in FY2019 down to $762 million in FY2020. 

Global Health

The State Department and global health programs are slated for steep budget reductions, some of over 25 percent. The budget states that global tuberculosis is prioritized by the administration in FY2020, but the budget proposes to slash the TB program’s current FY2019 funding from $302 million down to $261 million.

Last Reviewed: March 2019