(Host) Congressman Bernie Sanders says he’ll vote against President Bush’s $87 billion spending plan for Iraq, unless the proposal contains higher taxes for wealthy people.
VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:
(Kinzel) Sanders says he’s “offended” that the president would seek nearly $100 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq at a time when this country faces enormous domestic needs, such as more resources for health care, higher education and veterans programs.
Sanders says he feels it’s a huge mistake to pay for the Iraqi proposal by increasing the nation’s budget deficit. However the congressman says it would be appropriate to finance it by rescinding the recent tax cut for wealthy people:
(Sanders) “So if the president is serious, he will go to his wealthy friends and say, hey we have lost over 300 young people in Iraq. They’ve made a real sacrifice, maybe my fellow millionaires and billionaires you want to make a little bit of a sacrifice, forgo some of your tax breaks and that can pay for this whole appropriations bill.”
(Kinzel) Sanders says he’s also very concerned that the $87 billion appropriation is just the first step in a much larger effort to rebuild Iraq in the coming years:
(Sanders) “The truth of the matter is that the president has not given us an exit strategy yet. So despite the tens of billions that we have already spent, the $87 billion that he wants to spend there is absolutely no reason not to believe that there will be future requests for many, many billions more.”
(Kinzel) Sanders is urging the Republican leadership in the U.S. House to allow a vote on the amendment that would rescind part of the recent tax cut. But he doubts the proposal will reach the floor of the House for consideration by the full chamber.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.