WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) spoke at a press conference today on the impact of the Iraq war on the U.S. economy, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Charles Schumer and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, both of the Joint Economic Committee. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Last November, I joined Majority Leader Reid, Senator Schumer, and Congresswoman Maloney as the JEC released a report about the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to the American economy. Since then, the Administration has done nothing to rein in the costs in Iraq, even as it insists we short-change domestic priorities.
“The war in Iraq has now entered its sixth year, with no end in sight. In fact, President Bush told General Petraeus just last week that he will 'have all the time he needs,' despite the fact that the security situation is deteriorating, political reconciliation has not occurred, and the Iraqi government is spending little of its own money on reconstruction.
“As we continue to pour more resources into Iraq, the economy has taken a serious down turn. And Americans are making the connection. 252,000 jobs have been lost in the first three months of this year. Over the past seven years, gas prices have more than doubled, college costs have increased more than a third, and foreclosure rates have hit a record high.
“The fact is, this war has contributed to driving us into the economic ditch. Some economists, such as Joseph Stiglitz, are predicting that the total cost could reach $2 to $3 trillion – a far cry from the $50 to $60 billion originally predicted by Mitch Daniels, the President’s former Director of OMB.
“Furthermore, the President has run this war entirely with borrowed money. The cost is being added to this nation’s debt, leaving our children and grandchildren to pay both the bills and the interest on this mountain of debt.
“Despite the state of the economy, this Administration has staunchly opposed domestic spending that would help America’s working families, including children’s healthcare, infrastructure, unemployment benefits, and other critical areas.
“Millions of American families are hurting. The Administration must not ignore them – not when it insists we spend billions more in Iraq. It is time to change policy in Iraq, and devote the attention and resources necessary to turning our economy around.”