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House Dems Push New Tax To Pay For Iraq War

Three senior House Democrats are proposing a new tax to pay for the Iraq war, as well as vowing to oppose any funding bill for Iraq that does not include a policy for ending the conflict.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.), Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the Defense subcommittee on House Appropriations, and Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), will soon unveil a "surtax" on taxes owed by Americans to help cover the cost of the war, the trio announced this morning.

The tax is designed to raise $140 billion to $150 billion annually, and would range from a 2% surtax on low-income Americans to as much as 15% for wealthy taxpayers.

Obey and Murtha also said that they would not move an Iraq supplemental funding bill, needed to pay for combat operations in 2008, unless a "goal" of having all U.S. combat troops out of the country by January 2009, troop deployment times are shortened, and President Bush demonstrates that will engage in "an intensive, broad scale diplomatic offensive involving other countries in the region."

Obey signaled that he will not move the Iraq supplemental bill, estimated at $190 billion, this year, and will dig in and refuse to budge when the bill comes up for debate in early 2008.

"As chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I have no intention of reporting out of our committee anytime in this session of Con

The three lawmakers, who have not cleared their proposal with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic lawmakers, hope the surtax, if enacted, will generate additional opposition in the American public against the war.

"We need to stop pretending that this war doesn't cost anything," Obey said. The Wisconsin Democrat said the "war surtax" would only be applied to the costs of the Iraq campaign, not Afghanistan.

Obey said "there is no sense of shared sacrifice in this country on the war" since the federal government continues to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars in order to fund the military campaign in Iraq while also covering domestic needs.

"The only families being asked to sacrifice are military families, and they are being asked to sacrifice again and again and again," Obey said.

"George Bush compared the war in Iraq to the Revolutionary War," McGovern added. "If he really believes that, he should be asking everybody to sacrifice. For those of us who are against this war, who think it's a tragedy, the only thing that makes this tragedy worse is that the cost of this war falls on the backs of my kids and grandkids. If you don't like this war, and you don't want to pay taxes, then fight doubly hard against this war."