Afghanistan

Fiscally responsible? Then Oppose This War

Rep. Mike Honda along with Reps. John Conyers, Alan Grayson and Raúl Grijalva issued a statement yesterday challenging the conservatives in the House to be fiscally responsible by opposing the “emergency” war funding.

“It is disingenuous to say this is an “emergency” supplemental. The only “emergency”  is this: In funding the longest war in history, we are putting America further into debt with China, expanding the deficit, increasing wasteful government spending, undermining our budgetary process, risking Social Security and solidifying debt that military leaders call our number one national security threat.

The Iraq Study Group argued in 2006 that the government should stop funding the wars with emergency supplemental appropriation bills that avoid budgetary restrictions. Last year, President Obama pledged to stop these off-budget gimmicks to hide the cost of war. Last week, Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, cited debt as the number one threat to America’s national security. This week, Republican leader John Boehner stated that “We need to look at the American people and explain to them that we’re broke,” proposing to cut Social Security to pay for the war.

Our challenge: if you oppose deficit spending, debt dependency on China, cuts to Social Security, and are concerned about a debt-threat to our national security, then oppose this bill.”

The same group of representatives also held a press conference this morning, urging for a stop on unlimited war spending.  Rep. Raúl Grijalva had this to say on the hypocrisy of fiscal responsibility:

“I think that what Chairman Conyers has said is essentially why we are all here. To force some of our colleagues to acknowledge their hypocrisy on this issue. That at one point everything has to be offset, you must deal with the debt, you must deal with the deficit. And here we are, prolonging a war that most of the American people oppose and not paying for it. That’s the essential hypocrisy. We are required to offset anything for education, we are required to offset anything for jobs, and now this war is reaching $280 billion for taxpayers, all under an emergency supplemental category which doesn’t require offsets of pay-fors. You know this, from the time of the Tonkin resolution to the end of the end of that conflict in Vietnam, 103 months. We are now at our 104th month in Afghanistan, right now, with no end in sight. So the people that have been going around that the sky is falling because of the debt and the deficit, we’re asking them to put up. To acknowledge that this war has to be paid for, and that it shouldn’t come off the backs of programs, social programs like Social Security, health education, things that the American people need and want.”

Also, here’s Rep. Alan Grayson on the real costs of war:

[Excerpts begins around 0:23, emphasis mine]. “We are such a powerful country, that when we begin a war, we decide when to end it.The Afghans are not gonna end it for us, the Iraqis are not gonna end it for us. We have to make this decision. And in fact, the 435 of us have a big part in making that decision. But the public clearly has turned against this war. The number of people who think they are winning this war, in America are now outnumbered by the number of people who think they are losing this war, by roughly 2 to 1, whatever winning or losing might be in this  context.

[…]For those of us who actually do care about the deficit, for those of us want to be fiscally responsible, the fiscally responsible thing to do, would be to end the wars, and to make everyone’s first $35,000 tax free. That arithmetic, I think, makes the real choice clear here. The choice is, do we wanna keep taking money out of the pockets of the people who work every day in this country, the people who show up and do the work that needs to be done, simply to perpetuate these wars, 8000 miles from home?

[…] We are such a great nation, that the worst things that ever happen to us are the things we do to ourselves. And I for one say, enough if enough.”

We will keep you posted on what the outcome of the supplemental war vote will be later on today.