A proposed surtax that would help offset the cost of combating the Islamic State group, proposed by U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., and backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., failed after going to a vote Thursday night, 46-54. According to the proposed budget amendment, the tax would have been temporary and used to pay for American military operations to fight the militant group, also known as ISIS, and serve as a reminder that war is not free.
“Through each of our nation’s armed conflicts, new revenue streams not only provided the resources our military needed, they reminded the American people that our country was at war and we all needed to contribute to the effort,” Coons said on the Senate floor, according to a press release from the his office. “But after 14 years and two wars that have cost our nation trillions of dollars, I fear we have forgotten this important lesson from our history. We cannot write another blank check for war.”
According to Sean Coit, Coons' communications director, the language of the proposal had not yet designated the source of the tax revenue.
The financial burden that the U.S. would take on in engaging with ISIS echoed by Sanders. “The Republican Party has to end their hypocrisy with regard to deficits and the national debt,” Sanders said. “Wars are enormously expensive, not only in terms of human life and suffering, but in terms of the budget. If the Republicans want another war in the Mideast, they are going to have to tell the American people how much it will cost them and how it will be paid for.”
Several Senate Republicans have been highly critical of President Barack Obama’s plans to fight ISIS and have called for stronger action against the terror group. After the vote failed, Coons took to Twitter to express his disappointment in the Republican senators who voted unanimously against the budget amendment.
“Disappointed that every Republican senator voted against my budget amendment to have Congress pay for the war against ISIS,” Coons wrote. “Our soldiers and their families should not be the only Americans shouldering the burden of this war. It’s not fair to them, or to our kids.”