The stakes are immense for higher education and research in the 2018 appropriations process. Last week, President Donald Trump’s team released its fiscal year 2018 budget proposal, “A New Foundation for American Greatness.” The administration is proposing to increase funding for the Department of Defense by $54 billion while cutting the same amount in non-defense spending across at least 18 agencies.
At West Virginia University and across the nation, higher education leaders are alarmed at the potential for profound and far-reaching proposed cuts to medical and scientific research, student aid support and economic and community development programs. These threatened areas are the very keys to building a strong economy and a sound future for generations.
We are extremely fortunate that West Virginia’s representatives in Congress understand the importance of federal research and economic development programs to the well-being of our state and nation. Just last month, with the help of the West Virginia delegation, the 115th Congress soundly rejected the Administration’s recommendations to inflict last-minute funding cuts for 2017 on an array of federal programs, including several high-priority, University-supported programs.
Each member of our Congressional delegation has been receptive to our University’s 2018 federal funding program request, as well as the visits from so many University faculty and students, whose advocacy for the University I greatly appreciate.
As the 2018 budget process unfolds through hearings, mark-ups, House and Senate debates and conference deliberations, you can be assured that our Federal Relations team will remain in close communication with our Congressional representatives on your behalf. We will also coordinate with colleagues from other higher education institutions to promote federal investments in research, education, innovation and students.
As educators, we have a responsibility to follow and engage with the political and legislative process, and I appreciate your continuing efforts to do so. Do not hesitate to contact Mary Ditmore (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Suzanne Bentzel (email@example.com) from our Federal Relations team about any questions, concerns or opportunities that arise. Your input is essential to helping our team advocate successfully for the University.
Let us press forward calmly, united as one West Virginia University, endorsing scientific discovery and educational attainment as a force for increasing human understanding and solving our state and national challenges.
E. Gordon Gee
President, West Virginia University