Next Hurdle for Afghan Surge: Paying for It

Dems don't want to pony up for Obama's plan
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 1, 2009 9:16 AM CST
US helicopters of the International Security Assistance Force, arrive in Badghis province, Afghanistan, Nov. 30, 2008.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

(Newser) – Getting Congress to fund Barack Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy might be as arduous a process as the strategic review that devised it. Democrats, cold to the idea of sending more troops, don’t want to foot the bill; some are proposing a war tax to cover it. “If the president intends to go in over our objections,” explains Rep. Mike Honda, “he should have to bear the burden of asking for a tax to pay for it.”

Republicans, meanwhile, want to send the troops, but object to the tax, preferring to borrow the money or raid other parts of the federal government. The White House estimates that sending the 30,000 troops it’s asking for would tack $30 billion a year onto the Afghan war tab, while the Pentagon thinks it’ll cost half that. The cost is so high—$500,000 to $1 million a head—because sending supplies through Pakistan is so treacherous.

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