The Senate is plowing through a slew of amendments today expected to last until midnight, dubbed the “vote-a-rama” that precedes the budget vote.
One of those amendments would create an ISIS tax.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), backed by Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), proposed a “temporary surtax” to help cover the cost of military operations against ISIS.
That would be discontinued, his office said without offering more details, “once relevant military operations have concluded” against the Islamic State.
According to yesterday’s congressional record, the amount collected would be $8,800,000,000.
“As our nation’s Armed Forces continue their critical mission to degrade and destroy ISIS, which is already months underway, we need to consider another part of our strategy–paying for the war. This is not a new concept. Our nation has a long history of paying for our military missions. In fact, every war since the Revolutionary War, to the first Gulf War, was paid for,” Coons said on the Senate floor last night.
“Through each of our nation’s armed conflicts, new revenue streams not only provided the resources our military needed, they reminded the American people that our country was at war and we all needed to contribute to the effort. But after 14 years and 2 wars that have cost our nation trillions of dollars, I fear we have forgotten this important lesson from our history,” he continued. “We cannot write another blank check for a war. Paying for a war against ISIS is the right thing to do. It is fiscally, morally, and militarily responsible. As we continue to debate this war authorization in Congress, we need to be honest with the American people and each other about what it will cost our nation. That is why, as we debate the budget this week, I have offered an amendment that requires us to raise the revenue to pay for the fight against ISIS. The American people deserve no less.”
“I urge my colleagues to join me on this amendment to pay for a critically important war against ISIS and ensure we fight this battle together as one country.”
Sanders said the GOP “has to end their hypocrisy with regard to deficits and the national debt.”
“They are going to have to be honest with the American people. Wars are enormously expensive, not only in terms of human life and suffering, but in terms of the budget,” Sanders said. “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.”
UPDATE: The amendment failed this evening, but not by a lot — 46-54.