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Pelosi Dismisses Obey’s War Surtax

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday shot down a proposal by House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) to impose a surtax to cover the costs of the Afghanistan war.

“I’m not in support of the proposal by Mr. Obey,— Pelosi told reporters. “With the highest regard for Mr. Obey, that is his idea. He is speaking for himself.—

A method for financing President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan war strategy continues to elude Congressional Democrats, many of whom oppose a sustained military presence in the region. Pelosi said she wants to wait for Obama to put forward his request for war funds before making “a judgment about what support it has, and some of that will relate to how it affects the deficit.— Obama suggested in his national address that his plan, which includes a deployment of 30,000 additional troops, could cost $30 billion a year.

In the meantime, Pelosi said she has asked the White House to provide all House Members with a top-level briefing on Obama’s troop request in the next six months. The massive briefing, likely to take place on the House floor, would include Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — all of whom have been on the Hill this week giving committee testimony.

Pelosi said the unusual gathering will take place “hopefully very soon— and will allow every Member to ask questions of top officials about the nature of the threat by Afghanistan and the need for more war resources. Pelosi so far has been noncommittal in her support of Obama’s Afghanistan strategy.

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