Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bernie Sanders calls for ‘war tax’ on millionaires

(Rebecca Shabad)  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is planning to offer an amendment to the GOP budget next week that would impose a new tax on millionaires to finance U.S. military operations.
The “war tax” will be one of the first Sanders will introduce during the vote-a-rama next week. During the back-to-back votes, senators are allowed to submit an unlimited amount of amendments.
“The Republicans took us into protracted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — and ran up our national debt by trillions because they chose not to pay for those wars. Instead, they put the cost of those wars on our national credit card,” Sanders said in a statement Friday.
Sanders, a potential 2016 presidential contender, is ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee.
He’s upset with a provision Senate Republicans added to their blueprint Thursday that would increase defense spending next year by pumping up the Pentagon’s war funding account to $96 billion.
The overseas contingency operations (OCO) account has funded the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and now pays for operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Republicans are depending on OCO, which falls outside the Defense Department’s base budget, to increase military spending. The budget would keep sequestration budget caps in place next year for the Pentagon’s base budget.
Sanders slammed the proposal from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), which matches what House Republicans are seeking in their separate budget resolution. Sanders called their use of OCO a “gimmick.”
The extra OCO funding would only be offset in the out years, beyond the 10-year budget window.
“Wars are enormously expensive, not only in terms of human life and suffering, but in terms of the budget. If the Republicans want another war in the Mideast, they are going to have to tell the American people how much it will cost them and how it will be paid for,” he said.
“I strongly expect that there will be amendments demanding that Republicans tell us how they will pay for another war.”
Both chambers are planning to hold floor votes on their separate blueprints by the end of next week.

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