Speaker dislikes surtax to pay for war

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Thursday threw cold water on the idea of a war surtax to help pay for President Obama's troop buildup in Afghanistan, adding that the deficit will be a concern when the House begins to review the costs. "I am not in support of the proposal," said Pelosi, referring to the surtax idea floated by House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis.

Pelosi also said at her weekly news conference that House members will be seeking more details on Obama's Afghanistan plan "so we can make some judgment about the nature of the threat." Among the questions Pelosi said she wants answered is why generals now recommending a troop buildup to Obama apparently did not make the same recommendation to former President George W. Bush.

Pelosi said the president "has been dealt a terrible hand, and now he has to deal with that."

Meanwhile, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., said at a hearing this morning that a crucial piece of the Afghan war strategy is how the United States will deal with neighboring Pakistan, which has become a haven for terrorists. "What happens in Pakistan ... will do more to determine the outcome in Afghanistan than any increase in troops or shift in strategy," Kerry said, according to the Associated Press. Opening a hearing on Afghan strategy, Kerry said that it is the "presence of al-Qaida in Pakistan, its direct ties to and support from the Taliban in Afghanistan and the perils of an unstable, nuclear-armed Pakistan that drive our mission."

Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Richard Lugar, R-Ind., agreed, saying the president and the administration "must justify their plan not only on the basis of how it will affect Afghanistan, but on how it will impact our efforts to promote a much stronger alliance with Pakistan."

Lugar said "it is not clear how an expanded military effort in Afghanistan addresses the problem of Taliban and al-Qaida safe havens across the border in Pakistan."

The House Armed Services Committee also was hearing testimony this afternoon from Defense Secretary Robert Gates about Obama's plan to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan - the largest expansion of the war since it began eight years ago.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.