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Democrats Demand More Burden-Sharing

House bill would slap trade tariffs on imports from nations deemed not pulling their weight

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BOMBS fall. Bullets fly. Now the question is: Who will pay for the expanding war in the Persian Gulf? Four of America's allies - Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait - promise to ante up $41.5 billion to defray military costs to the United States during the first quarter of 1991.

But Congress isn't satisfied.

``The president keeps talking about a `new world order,' but it looks suspiciously like the `old world order' where we pay the bills,'' says Rep. Byron Dorgan (D) of North Dakota.

``Those allies who've prospered behind the shield of a common defense must contribute their fair share,'' says Senate majority leader George Mitchell (D) of Maine. ``They're not doing it yet. It's time they did.''

House majority leader Richard Gephardt (D) of Missouri says the US needs an ``acceptable formula'' to make sure ``everybody shares in this cost.'' Simply allowing each ally to pick its own level of contributions is not appropriate, he says.

War with Iraq is costing the US $600 million to $1 billion a day. That could rise to $2 billion a day in a full-scale ground war. According to various estimates, the eventual price to the US could range between $45 billion and $84 billion.

In addition, Israel may need another $13 billion in postwar aid. And the US has forgiven Egypt $6.7 billion in debts in exchange for its participation in Desert Storm.

To help out, Kuwait says it will give the US $13.5 billion; Saudi Arabia, $13.5 billion; Japan, $9 billion; Germany, $5.5 billion.

White House chief of staff John Sununu says that with this assistance, the net cost of the war to the US this year should be $15 billion. He says that it can be financed with no new taxes. Critics are doubtful, however, for they are skeptical of coalition assistance.


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