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Beto O’Rourke Proposes ‘War Tax’ For Non-Military Households

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Democratic 2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke unveiled a policy plan Monday to improve health care for veterans, including a “war tax” on households without service members or veterans.

The “war tax” would feed into what O’Rourke calls the Veterans Health Care Trust Fund for future wars, reported the Texas Tribune.

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The yearly war tax ranges from $25 to $1,000 based on households’ yearly income, reported CNN. O’Rourke will discuss the new plan at a veterans’ roundtable in Tampa Monday.

“We must be willing to pay any price, and bear any burden, to provide the full care, support, and resources to every single veteran who served every single one of us,” O’Rourke said in a statement according to the Texas Tribune.

The former Texas congressman has been accused of trading policy proposals for platitudes on the campaign trail. The candidate tried to combat that reputation by releasing policy proposals and hiring former Obama administration official Carmel Martin as his national policy director, reported Politico.

O’Rourke’s focus on veterans issues isn’t totally out of the blue. He introduced analogous legislation while in Congress, where he served on the House Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs committees. O’Rourke’s former district contains Fort Bliss.

Under the plan, households making less than $30,000 a year pay $25 to the fund, households making less than $40,000 pay $57, households making less than $50,000 pay $98, households making less than $75,000 pay $164, households making less than $100,000 pay $270, households making less than $200,000 pay $485, and households making more than $200,000 pay $1,000.

O’Rourke’s plan includes a “responsible end” to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and redirecting half of that funding for veterans of those wars, reported CNN.

Other points in O’Rourke’s plan include:

  • Covering “the full spectrum of women’s reproductive health care” for female veterans.
  • That includes “contraception with no out-of-pocket costs, in vitro fertilization without regard to marital status or sexual orientation, and abortions to the extent they are provided by other federal programs.”
  • Strengthening military service as a pathway to citizenship for immigrants.

The first section of O’Rourke’s plan centers on ending “forever wars.” President Donald Trump has also spoken out against what he calls “endless wars” and ranted about the military-industrial complex in relation to Iran before the latest episodes of Iran-U.S. tension.

The 2020 Democrats appear split on whether to withdraw U.S. troops from post-9/11 wars or keep them overseas to act as a stabilizing force. Joe Biden, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg fall into the latter category according to Politico.

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