GOP lawmakers blast war cost study

WASHINGTON – Senior Republicans on Congress’s Joint Economic Committee called Tuesday for the withdrawal of a report by the committee’s Democratic staff that argues that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost more than $1.5 trillion.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, and Rep. James Saxton, R-N.J., attacked the report on “hidden costs” of the wars, calling its methodology flawed and asserting factual errors. The report, issued Tuesday, said the war has cost nearly double the $804 billion in appropriations and requests for war funding thus far.

In a joint statement, the committee’s Republicans called the report “another thinly veiled exercise in political hyperbole masquerading as academic research.”

“All wars involve costs, and the war on terror is no exception,” Brownback and Saxton said. “The Democrats’ report would have benefited from more analysis and quality control, and less political content. We call on Senator Schumer and the Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate to withdraw this defective report.” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., chairs the committee.

The report argued that large war-related economic costs to U.S. taxpayers do not appear in the budget, such as the rising price of oil, paying for the care of the wounded, fixing damaged military equipment and interest on foreign debt.

Israel Klein, a spokesman for the committee’s majority, defended the report: “Instead of dealing with the substance of this report, the White House is once again trying to deflect attention away from the blistering costs of this war in Iraq.”

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