Biden Objects to Raising Gas Tax 06/19 08:33
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House made clear Friday that President Joe
Biden was opposed to letting the federal gasoline tax rise at the rate of
inflation to help pay for an infrastructure package that a bipartisan group of
21 senators is trying to craft.
The gas tax increase was part of an early package that called for $579
billion in new spending on roads, bridges, rail and public transit. It's
unclear if it will make the final cut and the White House seems intent on
making sure it doesn't.
"The President has been clear throughout these negotiations: He is adamantly
opposed to raising taxes on people making less than $400,000 a year," White
House spokesman Andrew Bates said. "After the extraordinarily hard times that
ordinary Americans endured in 2020 -- job losses, shrinking incomes, squeezed
budgets -- he is simply not going to allow Congress to raise taxes on those who
suffered the most."
The federal gas tax stands at 18.4 cents a gallon and has not increased
since 1993. It helps pay for highways and mass transit programs around the
country. Congress has traditionally relied on the user-pay principle to pay for
road and bridge work, but is increasingly relying on general funds to
accomplish that task. Lawmakers from both parties are wary of attack ads
accusing them of supporting a hike in gas prices.
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance
Committee, said that indexing the gas tax to inflation was a nonstarter for him.
"It's another hit on working people," Wyden said.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said a gas tax hike is a "Republican thing."
"Democrats want to fund this by taxing people (earning) $400,000," Brown
The White House is expecting to hear from the senators crafting the
infrastructure package on Monday. It is scaled back from Biden's proposal, but
Democrats are preparing to move other parts of Biden's agenda in separate
legislation that they could pass using a tool that requires only a simple
majority for approval.
The bipartisan plan offers about $579 billion in new spending, including
$110 billion on roads and highways, $66 billion on passenger and freight rail
and $48 billion on public transit. An additional $47 billion would go toward
efforts to fight climate change and there is money for electric vehicle
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., described the infrastructure
bill being negotiated a good start, but most Democrats don't believe it does
enough on climate or on the amount of revenue raises, and doesn't address
priorities like paid family leave. So they will proceed on two tracks that
include a reconciliation package going beyond what's in the infrastructure bill.