Sen. Al Franken introduced legislation on Wednesday that would require Congress to pay for future wars and ensure that they do not add to the federal budget deficit. The Pay for War Resolution gives Congress the option to finance war through budget cuts, creating new revenue or a combination of both budgetary means. Franken said the bill is meant to avoid a repeat of the $1.25 trillion that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have added to the national debt.
“We have to ensure that Iraq and Afghanistan remain anomalies in American history,” Franken said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “And that’s what my resolution seeks to do. It will ensure that future wars don’t make our deficit and debt problem worse. It will ensure that Congress and American citizens must face the financial sacrifice of going to war. And it will force us to decide whether a war is worth that sacrifice.”
“In the last ten years our wars have been paid for by borrowing,” Franken said. “The Iraq War was accompanied by a massive tax cut. That failed fiscal experiment created the impression that war requires no financial sacrifice. We know that is just not true. The question is who will bear the financial sacrifice, the generation that has decided to go to war or its children and grandchildren?”
He said the bill was started months ago, before the U.S. action in Libya. “This did not start with Libya although Libya gives it a sense of urgency,” he said.
In a press release from Franken’s office, he notes that think tanks across the political spectrum, from the Cato Institute to the Center for American Progress support his war budgeting plan.