Dem lawmakers introduce Afghan war surtax

A trio of Democratic lawmakers on Thursday introduced legislation that would impose a surtax to pay for the war in Afghanistan. 

Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. Dave Obey (Wis.), Defense Appropriations Subcommittee John Murtha (Pa.), and Democratic Caucus chairman John Larsen (Conn.) say that the bill woild end the practice of paying for the war with deficit spending. 

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"Regardless of whether one favors the war or not, if it is to be fought, it ought to be paid for," the lawmakers said in a statement. "Now the president is being asked to consider an enlarged counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan, which proponents tell us will take at least a decade and would also cost about a trillion dollars.  But unlike the healthcare bill, that would not be paid for."

Should the bill pass, the surtax would come into effect in 2011 and would pay off war costs from the previous year. Democratic lawmakers previously introduced a similar measure to fund the Iraq War that failed to pass through Congress.

The measure has attracted eight co-sponsors, all of whom are House Democrats: Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank (Mass.), Anna Eshoo (Calif.), Sam Farr (Calif.), Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairman Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), Betty McCollum (Minn.), Jim McDermott (Wash.), Jim McGovern (Mass.), and Linda Sanchez (Calif.)

"We believe that if this war is to be fought, it’s only fair that everyone share the burden. That’s why we are offering legislation to impose a graduated surtax so that the cost of the war is not borrowed," the three sponsors said.