Mar 17, 2017

Tech alarmed over Trump budget cuts

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The tech community from Silicon Valley to DC expressed alarm over deep cuts to programs including science, arts, housing and food assistance, transportation funding and public broadcasting.

  • One of the sharpest rebukes came from Luta Security CEO Katie Moussouris, who took to Twitter with what she told Axios was her visceral, personal reaction to hearing about Trump's budget cuts, especially for programs geared toward the poor. "My mom was a single mother scientist, paid half what men she trained were paid. She'd go without lunch so I could eat. Poverty isn't a crime," she tweeted, adding "even though I wasn't on them, those school meal programs are important. Invest in the children of the poor, & we will return it 1000-fold."
  • Even Silicon Valley's subway system BART spoke out in a tweetstorm, saying "the president's change in policy would drastically shift funding downstream, and likely hit local users the hardest." It would also put a project expanding service to Silicon Valley at risk.
  • In D.C., John Holdren, who served as the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology under Obama, released a scathing statement condemning the budget and the ramifications it would have on U.S. leadership in science and technology and for business, "which depends on government services far more heavily than is generally recognized."
  • California Senator Dianne Feinstein called the budget an "absolute travesty for California," and freshman Senator Kamala Harris called it "disgusting" and vowed to "fight it at every step."
  • Joe Kennedy, senior fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, said in a blog, "If these cuts were to be enacted, they would signal the end of the American century as a global innovation leader. America's lead in science and technology was built on the fact that in the 1960s the U.S. government alone invested more in R&D than the rest of the world combined, business and government."

What's next: Tech is far from the only industry unnerved by the budget, but it may be among the most vocal given its outcry over other Trump policies. It's up to Congress to approve the preliminary budget, so the industry will be developing a lobbying strategy in the coming days.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 1,502,618 — Total deaths: 89,915 — Total recoveries: 339,775Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 432,554 — Total deaths: 14,829 — Total recoveries: 24,213Map.
  3. Business: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion. — Another 6.6 million jobless claims were filed last week
  4. Federal government latest: Congress' $250 billion PPP injection could come too late for some businesses.
  5. Public health latest: Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the death toll to 60,000.
  6. Poll: 1 in 10 Americans believe the economy will never return to normal.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
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