WASHINGTON — The White House says it is considering backing the first hike in the federal gasoline and diesel tax in decades to pay for President Donald Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure package.
Not so fast, says the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
According to a report in The Hill, Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn told moderate House lawmakers at a private meeting on Wednesday that they'll get a chance to vote on a gas tax hike early next year as part of an infrastructure bill, according to two lawmakers who were present. The discussion over the fuel tax during the meeting was first reported by Politico Playbook.
The White House may back the first hike in the federal gasoline tax in decades in order to pay for President Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure package.
The discussion over the fuel tax during the meeting was first reported by Politico Playbook.
But on Thursday, Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., the House T and I chair, reportedly said there is little enthusiasm at present for a gas tax increase.
But, he quickly added, committee members could get on board with the idea if the White House gets publicly involved on the issue and actively advocates for an increase. He emphasized that the president needs to take the lead on the infrastructure package.
“There’s no sense in me going out there and putting something out and all of a sudden the president beats it down,” Shuster told reporters, according to CQ Roll Call.
Trump signaled some openness to raising the federal gas tax earlier this year, telling Bloomberg News that it’s something he would “certainly consider.” But the idea, a politically fraught issue that lawmakers have avoided for years, quickly ran into fierce opposition from GOP lawmakers and influential conservatives.
But the idea, a politically fraught issue that lawmakers have avoided for years, quickly ran into fierce opposition from GOP lawmakers and influential conservatives, The Hill reported.
The Highway Trust Fund, which provides money for road construction and other transportation projects across the country, is financed by a federal fuel tax of 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon of diesel fuel.
But the taxes have been frozen since 1993, even as the buying power of the revenue has been sapped by improvements in car and truck fuel efficiency.
A hike in the tax would help fix the ailing trust fund, which the Congressional Budget Office predicts will be insolvent in the next decade without concrete solutions. The business community, including many trucking stakeholders, and labor unions have long been pushing to raise the gas tax.