President Trump says he’s adding $1.6 billion to NASA’s budget

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: AFP OUT U.S. President Donald Trump holds a plastic astronaut figurine given to him by Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. Senator Jack Schmitt during a signing ceremony for 'Space Policy Directive 1' in the Roosevelt Room at the White House December 11, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON. — President Donald Trump says he is adding $1.6 billion to NASA’s budget “so that we can return to Space in a BIG WAY!”

Trump announced the decision as part of a series of tweets Monday about tweaks he’s making to his proposed budget.

Vice President Mike Pence has called for landing astronauts on the moon within five years, and has said NASA needs to achieve that goal “by any means necessary.” This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.

Trump had previously announced plans to reverse several of his administration’s own budget proposals, including efforts to gut federal funding for a wide-ranging Great Lakes cleanup program.

Trump told a rally crowd in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in March that he was reversing course on the proposed cuts and would support allocating $300 million this year for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative after three Republican lawmakers from the state lobbied him during a ride from the Grand Rapids airport.

Trump’s initial budget proposal had sought to cut the program’s federal financing by 90%.

“We must protect our Great Lakes, keeping them clean and beautiful for future generations,” he tweeted Monday.

Trump also announced that day that he would be reversing his budget’s call to slash $17.6 million in funding for the Special Olympics in the face of withering criticism from Capitol Hill.

Trump tweeted Monday that he had “officially updated my budget to include $18 million for our GREAT @SpecialOlympics, whose athletes inspire us and make our Nation so PROUD!”

Trump also said he would push for $200 million for Army Corps of Engineers restoration work in the Florida Everglades this year, calling on Congress “to help us complete the world’s largest intergovernmental watershed restoration project ASAP!”

It’s unclear where the money to pay for the new spending requests will come from. The White House did not immediately respond to questions.

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