Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is demanding that Republicans pay for their proposed $96 billion increase in military spending with a tax increase on millionaires.
In a statement, Sanders said:
Republicans have been telling us for years that because of high deficits we have to cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, nutrition and virtually every program that benefits working families. On the other hand, their concerns about deficits seem to disappear when it comes to war and defense spending. 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. Yesterday, Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee voted for an increase of $38 billion in defense spending – all added to the deficit.
The Republican Party is going to have 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. 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. This is an issue that I and others intend to raise forcefully during this week’s debate on the Senate floor. I strongly expect that there will be amendments demanding that Republicans tell us how they will pay for another war.
Sen. Sanders isn’t just demanding the war tax. He is going to force Republicans to vote on it by proposing a war tax amendment. The way the Vermont senator has handled the Republican budget is the exact reason why Harry Reid gave him the top Democratic seat on the Senate Budget Committee. Bernie Sanders has waged a tireless battle against the Republican budget all week long. After Republican war hawks, led by Lindsey Graham, threatened to blow up the budget over military funding cuts, Republicans caved, but now they are going to have to deal with Sen. Sanders pointing out their hypocrisy at every turn.
If Republicans want their $96 billion, they are going to have to pay for it. Sen. Sanders was correct. Republicans claim that every single social program that benefits middle-class Americans and their children must be cut, but they were able to find $96 billion under the congressional couch cushions to make war hawks like Lindsey Graham happy.
Bernie Sanders is holding Republicans accountable to what they claim their principles are. Republicans are demanding that spending be paid for, and excess military spending should be no different. Republicans aren’t going to be allowed to throw more war spending on the nation’s credit card.
The message is clear. If Republicans want a new war, their beloved millionaire “job creators” are going to have to pay for it.