Sen. Chris CoonsChris CoonsTrump, Democrats can bridge divide to make college more affordable Senate Dems urge Sessions to abstain from voting on Trump’s Cabinet picks Booker to vote against Tillerson MORE (D-Del.) is proposing a temporary surtax to pay for the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
In an op-ed Sunday in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Coons criticized Congress for not paying for the war.
"One way to offset rising costs while allowing all Americans to contribute is a temporary war surtax that includes an exemption for our troops and their families," Coons wrote.
"As we pursue our goal of 'degrading and destroying' ISIS, we cannot write another blank check for war," said Coons, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee.
Coons said Congress has taken steps to pay for every major conflict, often through new taxes, since the War of 1812.
That practice ended with the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said. The Iraq War would eventually cost $1.64 trillion and the Afghanistan War $715 billion.
Coons said those costs would include an additional $6 trillion if long-term care for injured veterans were factored in.
"Paying for the wars we fight is a matter of congressional responsibility and national security," he said. "A large national debt weakens our ability to respond to global threats, undermines our fiscal position, and limits our diplomatic flexibility."
He also argued that debt from the war would also disadvantage future generations and that it was a moral responsibility to share the burden of the war with those who are sent to fight it.
"When we pay for our wars with a credit card, and when the pain of war is felt only by our troops and their families, it is far too easy for our nation's leaders to send soldiers into harm's way without a national conversation about the merits of our involvement, and far too easy for those conflicts to drag on," he said.
Coons also argued Congress should debate the war and vote to authorize it.
"A proper national debate of the anti-ISIS conflict will demand that Congress and the American people better understand the human cost of the war, too," he added.
"We should not declare war today only to declare bankruptcy tomorrow," Coons said.