What Will Trump and the 115th Congress Mean for Chemistry?

A new presidential administration always means big policy and regulatory changes. The 115th Congress and the presidency of Donald J. Trump will be no exception. But will those changes be good for chemists? While there’s a still a great deal of uncertainty around the new administration, there are a few bellwether issues to watch in 2017, according to Anthony Pitagno, director of advocacy for the American Chemical Society.

Here are a few policy matters chemists should watch closely this year:

Tax Changes May Impact Research Funding

Changes to the tax code are expected to be an early priority for both the White House and Congress in 2017. ACS is hopeful that the 115th Congress can develop a pro-growth, pro-innovation tax reform package that encourages U.S. investment in research and manufacturing policies which provide domestic business incentives.

Basic Research May Get a Boost

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chair of the House Science, Space, and Technology committee, has voiced support for funding more basic scientific research in the physical science and engineering with federal dollars. The passage of the long-delayed American Innovation and Competitiveness Act last month may set the stage for a better working relationship between the NSF and Congress, as it irons out some longstanding disagreements between the two bodies.

Climate Science’s Forecast is Cloudy

The outlook for federal funding for climate-related research through institutions like the National Science Foundation is uncertain in 2017. Pitagno says the funding outlook for everything from basic climate studies to applied research is up in the air for 2017.

Critical Minerals May Get Another Look

The rise of advanced electronic devices, such as smartphones and solar cells, have made access to certain minerals especially important in recent years. While the Critical Minerals Policy Act failed to find traction in previous legislative sessions, the ACS will continue to advocate on this issue, says Pitagno.

Technical Education Remains Essential

Republicans leaders have signaled that job creation and retention will be an important part of their party’s agenda for 2017. Having workers ready for the jobs of tomorrow means providing essential workforce training today. ACS is a supporter of extending and expanding the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, which provides federal funding for technical vocational training.

Are you interested in the future of science policy? Join the ACS in advocating for the interests of scientists through Act4Chemistry, the ACS’ legislative action network. Together with thousands of other chemists across the country, you can make your voice heard and let your elected representatives know how important science is to the future of the United States.

Get more science policy resources for 2017 from the ACS:

If you have comments or questions for the author of this post, please e-mail: Axial@acs.org.