November 24th, 2009
07:52 PM ET
11 years ago

Pelosi keeps door open on war tax

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Speaker Pelosi said Tuesday that 'there is serious unrest' in the House Democratic Caucus over funding the Afghanistan war."]
Washington (CNN) - Speaker Nancy Pelosi kept the door open Tuesday to a proposal by several senior House Democrats to impose a graduated surtax on American taxpayers to finance the war in Afghanistan.

While Pelosi wasn't pressed about the details of the new war tax, she pointed to strong reservations among Congressional Democrats about the costs of the war during a conference call Tuesday with several economic writers and bloggers.

"But let me say that there is serious unrest in our Caucus about can we afford this war?" Pelosi said.

Two years ago when House Appropriations Chairman David Obey, D-Wisconsin, floated a similar war tax to pay for the war in Iraq, Pelosi quickly rejected it. But on Tuesday Pelosi said the costs of the war and the impact they will have on other domestic priorities should be part of the discussion over U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

In addition to Obey, several senior Democrats close to Pelosi have signed on as co-sponsors of the "Share the Sacrifice Act." These include Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, D-New York, Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, and the third ranking House Democrat John Larson, D-Connecticut. Obey projects that an escalation of significantly more U.S. troops to Afghanistan will cost about $1 trillion over the next ten years.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Democrats • Extra • House • Nancy Pelosi • Popular Posts
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. james shea

    The Iraq war was financed with smoke and mirrors - and annual emergency appropreations, leading to a major deficit. Add on the additional deficit spending due to the current economic crisis, we definately should know up front the costs and how the country will pay for the war in Afghanistan. If this requires an additional tax, so be it.

    At the same time a major effort by Congress and the Administration should be taken to reduce spending, investigate fraud (example Medicare) and not adapt any new social programs that increase the federal deficit. It wouldn't hurt if a few "career" politicians - from both parties - became STATESMEN and started working together in the best interest of the country instead of political gain!!

    November 24, 2009 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  2. dlr

    forget the tax and bring the troops home... Simplistic I know, but a new tax now in addition to the domestic agenda will be a hard pill to swallow.

    November 24, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  3. Meidy

    Queen Polosi worries about the cost of the war while at the same time promoting ObamaCare, Carbon Tax / Trading and other big-government initiatives? Give me a break.

    November 24, 2009 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  4. Tommygunn


    We go to another country to fight a battle and not only run the expense tab on our troups but also in building up the war coharts in that country. Why should AMERICA pay the tab?

    What's worse is...we now have a WAR using PRIVATE CONTRACTORs COMPLIMENTs of DICK CHENNEY and company CONSUMING UP MUCH OF TAX PAYERs MONEY.


    The AMERICAN PUBLIC need to see the TRANSPARENCY on the FUNDING OVER THE LAST 8 YEARS.......then I'm sure the TEA BAGGERS will have PLENTY TO RUN FROM in the GOP.

    November 24, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  5. OnePoint

    Thanks W for destroying America with your illegal war in Iraq, tax cuts to the wealthy and deregulation that led to the economic crisis we are in. We will have spent 6 or 8 trillion on your follies before we are done but yet your Republican buddies can't support < 1 trillion for healthcare. Shame on all of you for destroying America with your personal agendas and blind greed.

    November 24, 2009 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  6. George Synan

    War tax?

    I didn't ask for Bush to waste $860B in Iraq for a war that had nothing to do with anything. We could have used that money to where the real war was.

    You neocons can go to hell. You dug this country into a deep, dark hole that we will spend generations getting out of.

    November 24, 2009 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  7. Frank Farmer

    I thought when Obama was running for president last fall, he said no new taxes. Must be he is once again lying to the people who voted him in. Voters ,I think, have better memories than politions.

    November 24, 2009 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  8. not brainwashed

    Just more proof it doesn't matter who you put in it's the same out come, more war higher taxes.

    We need to vote out BOTH democrats AND!!! republicans.

    November 24, 2009 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  9. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    START by taxing the companies making outrageous profits from no bid contracts, THEN tax the employees of those companies who are making MULTIPLES of what our fighting men and women get paid, often for the same jobs.

    That would be a GOOD start.

    November 24, 2009 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  10. TJ

    war tax? You got to be kidding. If Afghan wants us to stay let them foot the bill, otherwise it is time to get out.

    November 24, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  11. Seth Hill

    Yes, we should pay for our wars. Anyone disagree?

    November 24, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  12. Greg Ebert

    Atta girl, Nancy! Start by removing the tax-breaks GW Bush showered onto the "haves" and "have mores". Next, track down everyone who has a "Freedom isn't Free" bumper sticker (usually found on obnoxiously obese SUVs) and have them put their money where their mouths are. And let us not forget the Wall Street parasites who still rake in millions of dollars in bonuses while they drove their companies into the dirt.

    November 24, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  13. Brian

    Politicians are hypocrites. I don't know if we can afford a war to protect our country, but we can afford health care. I don't get it.

    November 24, 2009 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  14. Shannon, VA

    Hmm, I'm curious what the Republican leadership will think of this. Because they're generally for the war, but they're also generally against taxes.

    Personally I feel like EVERY time we get into a war there should be a temporary tax hike to pay for it. Maybe then we would get in fewer wars.

    November 24, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  15. Rich

    Let's just make sure those companies profiting from the war are heavily taxed first.

    November 24, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  16. Arthur W.

    I wholly support the idea of a war tax. I think people should "feel" the cost of war. Its very easy to think.. "I think we belong at war in Afghanistan" but when you have to personally pay for it.. it becomes a harsher feeling. Maybe this will start people questioning our purpose over there. At least I would hope so.

    November 24, 2009 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  17. Sam

    I'm active duty. Will I be taxed to pay for a war I am fighting? Isn't that like Wal Mart taxing employee pay checks to help pay their own wages??....

    November 24, 2009 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  18. Jim

    These people are so out of control and out of touch with America it is nauseating.

    November 24, 2009 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  19. Jonathan Simeone

    This is a great idea. We really need to start paying for the things our government wants to do. It will be nice to see how Republicans, who are unbelievably scoring points on the deficit, will react. A war tax pits two of their major campaign issues against each other. My guess is they will oppose any efforts to pay for the war and hope most Americans fail to recognize the inconsistancy in their arguments. Sadly, they will, most likely, get away with it.

    November 24, 2009 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  20. elviejo

    And that's the way it is. Forty years ago, the most wily, experienced, up through the ranks president we had ever had got on board the doomed train, thinking surely our superior technology can defeat a sandal clad bunch of technology challenged "communists." The liberal apparatchiks, with nary a whimper, got in line. Well, except that crazed Alaskan senator.
    Now, Obama, having consulted the most expert counsel, has made a similar decision; as have the "liberal" Pelosi, Rangel, etc. The Greek chorus chants George Santayana's aphorism, "those who forget the lessons of history are bound to commit its mistakes." We now have a war president as our infrastructure slowly falls farther into disrepair.

    November 24, 2009 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  21. Hope

    No more new taxes, eliminate expenditure to finance the war back on health care no public option no individual mandate.

    November 24, 2009 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  22. Jim in Asheville

    Madam Speaker, forget the phony Share the Sacrifice Act to pay for your war. How about collecting back taxes with interest and fines from your tax cheat buddies in DC. That ought to help pay part of the cost to redeploy our troops.

    November 24, 2009 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  23. vkc

    Don't the average taxpayer pay for this already? The government is not a self-sustaining entity, is it?

    November 24, 2009 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  24. Aaron

    So, Congress cannot come up with health care reform or anything to help uninsured Americans since they don't want to "burden" taxpayers, but they can nonchalantly float a war tax. I suppose that war industries are now offering "contributions" to members of Congress. The insurance companies must be running out of dough for it.

    November 24, 2009 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  25. Dan, TX

    I should hope so. We want to pay for the war we asked our government to wage in our names. We all knew the war was going to cost $1 Trillion + when George Bush told us we should go to war and we all agreed that we should kill those who are our enemies. I bought the war, I can't return it now, it is time to pay what I owe.

    November 24, 2009 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
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