Pelosi rejects tax proposal to pay for Afghan war
By Paul Kane and Ben Pershing
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) scuttled the proposed "war tax" to finance the increased troop deployment to Afghanistan, telling reporters Thursday that she would oppose the idea from her closest allies in the Capitol.
Pelosi, in her weekly press briefing, announced she would not support the proposal from House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) and others who have suggested a temporary tax on workers earning as little as $30,000 a year to fund the effort.
"I'm not in support of the proposal of Mr. Obey," Pelosi said, adding that "he is speaking for himself" with his war tax.
Democrats such as Obey oppose the new deployment -- which will place more than 100,000 U.S. troops on Afghan soil -- as a mission that is destined to fail and not in the national interest. They have latched onto the financing of the new war effort as the proxy fight for opposition to the war. This is because the only constitutional role for Congress in foreign affairs is its funding power, but also because the soaring federal debt amid a steep recession gives lawmakers political leverage in the debate.
In rejecting Obey's war tax, Pelosi did not offer other ways to finance the stepped-up war effort. President Obama has pegged the cost at $30 billion, but key lawmakers have said it will actually cost $40 billion. "When the president makes a request, we'll make a judgment about what support it has, and some of that will relate to how it affects the deficit," she said.
Pelosi's pronouncement officially ends any chance of a war tax, as she now joins Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in opposing that plan. They have suggested that taxing almost all workers during a recession would have a negative drag on the economy.
Republicans, who have generally supported the troop deployment but criticize the idea of bringing troops home starting in July 2011, have offered a variety of methods for funding the war effort.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested using unspent money from the $787 billion stimulus legislation approved in February. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Jerry Lewis (Calif.), the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, have suggested that almost $35 billion could be pared off the annual spending bills for federal agencies, which must be approved in the next few weeks.
Democrats have, so far, rejected those offerings.
December 3, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
Categories: Dem. Leaders , House , Purse Strings
Save & Share: Previous: Amid anxiety, jobs bill takes shape on the Hill
Next: House votes to make current estate tax permanent
Posted by: shadowmagician | December 3, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: forever2again | December 4, 2009 2:44 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: galario | December 4, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.