President Donald Trump is looking to give NASA’s budget a boost, including a new plan to send Americans back to the moon by 2024. In order to afford this boost without putting it in a new budget, is to take money from other programs. More notably, Trump wants to take money from the Pell Grant funds, about $1.6 billion, to give it to the space program.
This new budget amendment also looks slash money from the Special Olympics and other beloved programs to make this happen. He tweeted on Monday that NASA needs more cash so the U.S. can “return to space in a BIG WAY!” Of course, he has a long way to go before getting this money approved. It has to be approved by Congress.
Congress might use the opportunity to attack Trump for his lack of concern over education. Of course, he only wants to use the $1.6 billion that goes unused every year. He calls it a ‘waste’ and ‘unnecessary spending.’ White House officials said this would not impact the students currently receiving Pell Grant money.
“This does not cut any spending for Pell Grant programs as the budget continues to ensure all students will get their full Pell Grant and keeps the program on sound fiscal footing,” Office of Management and Budget spokesman Wesley Denton said in a statement.
Pell Grant Enrollment Down
Over the past decade, the number of people who enroll in the Pell Grant scholarship has had a steep decline. Potential applicants feel the process takes too much time to get approved. Instead, they rely on fully guaranteed federal student loans to pay for college. This is a move that has skyrocketed the student loan debt problem in this country.
Still, President Trump seems fully committed to getting the space program back into action. He’s looking for any and every way to give NASA a funding boost. He has promised that the U.S. will once again be at the forefront of a new era of space exploration. “Under my Administration, we are restoring @NASA to greatness and we are going back to the Moon, then Mars,” he wrote.
Vice President Mike Pence is also on board, saying he wants to see astronauts on the moon within the next five years. To make that happen, they will employ ‘any means necessary’, including pulling money from other budgets. It’s a great time to get public interest back on board, as this summer is the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing.
Changing His Mind
The president has made promises to cut spending, but after proposing his own budget cuts, seems to change his mind. He’s now reversed several budget cuts, including the 90% cut he was going to make to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. He also called for a $17.6 million cut in funding for the Special Olympics, but thankfully changed his mind after massive criticism.
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!” Either way, it looks like America is headed back into space, regardless of how Trump plans to pay for it.