It will cost an additional $30 billion a year. Some antiwar Democrats in Congress talk of a 'war tax,' but the most likely option to fund Obama's Afghanistan war plan is to keep borrowing.
As of now, Congress appears poised to just borrow the cash to pay for the deployment of 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan, adding to the federal deficit. That’s in contrast to healthcare reform, which lawmakers are struggling to pay for with tax increases and budget cuts.
This shows that years of special supplemental appropriations to pay for the Iraq and Afghan wars have made it too easy for lawmakers to avoid making tough fiscal choices on defense, say some deficit hawks.
No payment plan spelled out
In his speech Tuesday night, Mr. Obama himself noted that the cost of his Afghan troop increase would run about $30 billion a year.
“I’ll work closely with Congress to address these costs as we work to bring down our deficit,” said Obama.
But the president gave no specifics as to what addressing those costs might mean.
It is probably too late for Congress to consider the extra Afghan expenses this year. Lawmakers are close to final approval of the Department of Defense spending bill for fiscal year 2010, which already includes $130 billion for next year’s Afghanistan and Iraqi operations.