US-POLITICS-TRUMP-MILITARY

In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Monday, President Donald Trump asked Congress to amend the fiscal year 2018 budget to include $5.9 billion in additional funding for his missions in North Korea and Afghanistan, as well as a wall along the southern border of the U.S.

Trump requested $1.2 billion for the administration's South Asia strategy, which included funding for U.S intervention in Afghanistan.

“This request supports additional effort to detect, defeat, and defend against any North Korean use of ballistic missiles against the United States, its deployed forces, allies, or partners,” the letter read.

An additional $700,000 of that money would go toward repairing the USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald. Both of those naval vessels collided with merchant ships earlier in 2017.

The letter, obtained by Politico, came as Trump and First Lady Melania visited South Korea, an alert neighbor to the North which is defying international pressure and ramping up its nuclear program. Since Trump took office, the administration has focused on applying diplomatic pressure and avoiding military intervention in North Korea.

Trump's mission in Afghanistan, however, deploys 3,500 soldiers as part of the administration's new strategy which Trump publicly defended during the summer. The additional funding would aid special operations forces and capabilities in Afghanistan as well.

Of the president's requested funding, $1.6 billion would pay for a southern border wall, a key promise that Trump made during his 2016 campaign. “Providing for the safety and security of the American people is my top priority,” Trump said in an apparent attempt to justify the spending.

The spending requested on Monday would add to the trillions of dollars Congressional Republicans approved in federal spending for fiscal year 2018. Last month, House Republicans narrowly passed a $4 trillion budget resolution that would allow for $1.5 trillion in deficits and open the door to one of Trump's other major agenda items: tax reform.

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