The new federal budget deal insures full funding for Brookhaven National Laboratory this year, and could help protect 3,000 local jobs imperiled by cuts proposed by President Donald Trump for 2018, Sen. Chuck Schumer announced Tuesday.
The spending agreement was unveiled Monday and covers the final five months of the 2017 federal fiscal year. It increases funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science by $42 million to $5.3 billion. The office is a primary BNL funder.
The federal fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
The congressional compromise, which Trump supports, “will help BNL carry out critical projects that help put Long Island on the map as a global leader in research,” said Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate minority leader.
He said full funding of the Upton lab this year makes it easier for him and others to fight Trump’s proposed 2018 budget cuts in forthcoming negotiations. Their position is also strengthened by the energy department receiving more money this year than in 2016, he said.
In March, at a BNL news conference, Schumer decried Trump’s proposal to cut $3 billion next year from the energy department, which includes the science office, the office of energy efficiency and renewable energy, the nuclear energy office, and programs focused on the electric grid and fossil-energy research.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who also has opposed Trump’s proposal, said Tuesday he was “pleased to see that the necessary funding has been secured” for this year.
BNL received more than $537 million in 2016 from the department offices that have been targeted by Trump for reduced funding in 2018, according to Schumer and lab executives.
BNL is home to the National Synchrotron Light Source II and other centers where basic research is conducted. Some of its inventions have become the basis for local startup businesses.
Schumer said Tuesday the budget deal includes $1.9 billion for basic energy services, an increase from $1.85 billion in fiscal 2016. The Light Source will share in $494 million for four similar facilities across the country.
The deal also earmarks $1.8 million for infrastructure improvements at BNL.
Schumer said the lab “creates jobs, spurs innovation and is essential to keeping Long Island and America No. 1.”
Stony Brook University president Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. hailed the spending agreement, citing Schumer’s aggressive lobbying on the part of BNL.
“Our joint faculty, our students and researchers . . . will continue to pursue current questions and new opportunities as they strive to make discoveries that will change our understanding of the world,” he said.
Local business and education leaders have said BNL is a key player in a proposed research corridor linking the Island’s universities and labs with those in New York City to spur the growth of technology companies.
BNL lab director Doon Gibbs said his employees “appreciate the continuing support” of Schumer and other New York lawmakers on Capitol Hill.