President Trump on Monday asked Congress to approve an “urgent” wave of new funding for a missile defense system, repairs to damaged U.S. Navy ships, and Trump's new Asia strategy.
"The request includes an additional $4.0 billion to support urgent missile defeat and defense enhancements to counter the threat from North Korea, $0.7 billion to repair damage to U.S. Navy ships, and $1.2 billion in support of my administration's South Asia strategy," Trump wrote in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
“This request supports additional efforts to detect, defeat, and defend against any North Korean use of ballistic missiles against the United States, its deployed forces, allies, or partners,” the president added.
The $4 billion in missile defense funding address a gap in the budget that the president formally submitted in May. The original White House budget called for a cut in missile defense spending, despite Trump’s increasing focus on the crisis. Defense hawks in Congress cited that inconsistency when they dismissed his proposal and called for higher Pentagon spending levels.
"When the budget came up here on May 23rd, there were exactly two Trump-appointed, Senate-confirmed appointees at the Department of Defense, one of whom had been there a week," House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said at the time. "It's the Obama budget request, because there wasn't anybody at DOD to write a Trump request."
That modification is paired with a request for $700 million to repair two U.S. warships based out of Japan that were damaged in recent collisions. “These ships provide critical naval presence and additional ballistic missile defense capabilities in the Asia-Pacific theater,” Trump told Ryan.
Trump also asked for $1.2 billion to support an extra 3,500 troops in Afghanistan, which Trump said should be put in the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, which is subject to fewer budgetary restrictions than most congressional appropriations.
But the money for North Korea-focused military defenses could have the most immediate significance, in military and diplomatic terms. Trump is trying to rally U.S. allies and induce China to cooperate in putting additional pressure on a regime that American intelligence officials worry could soon have the ability to strike the U.S. with a nuclear weapon.
“We will not stand for that,” Trump said Monday during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “The era of strategic patience is over.”
Trump also asked Ryan to make sure Congress approves $1.6 billion for a border wall, something that was already approved in the House-passed national security package this year.