Lawmakers from both parties reacted with skepticism Tuesday to the idea of a war surtax to pay for the Afghanistan troop surge, a sign that the White House may have to look elsewhere to fund the effort.Senate Democrats discussed the idea of a tax at their lunch on Tuesday, a day when most Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate largely dismissed the idea proposed to fund the 30,000 extra troops President Barack Obama is expected to send to Afghanistan. Only a handful of senior Democrats sounded open-minded, saying they first wanted to hear Obama’s rationale.Most senators and representatives pointed to the recession, saying that a tax increase would be poorly timed because it could prolong the economic drought. "It's not a good idea to raise taxes in the middle of an economic downturn," said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.). "I do think it needs to be paid for over some budget period. But I don't like the idea of raising taxes now, at a time of economic weakness. That doesn't make sense to me."
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