Gas tax fight shaping up in Congress

pigs in straw

Congress is searching for a way to fund the Highway Trust Fund and an increase in the gas tax is the preferred method in the Senate. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Orrin Hatch52%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard52% (endorsed by Mark Levin, motto “never count your Hatches before they chicken”) has said that he opposes taxes but he considers the gas tax to be a “user fee.”

“I prefer not to increase taxes but to me that’s a user fee,” said Hatch, a Republican, adding: “People who use the highways ought to pay for them. And that’s a small price to pay to have the best highway system in the world.”

John Thune, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee also seems to be on board with the tax increase idea:

Top Republicans in the Senate, including incoming Transportation Committee Chairman Sen. John Thune (R-SD)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. John Thune61%Senate Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard61% (R-S.D.), have indicated a willingness this week to at least consider increasing the gas tax as a potential solution to a transportation funding shortfall that is estimated to be as high as $16 billion per year.

“I don’t favor increasing any tax. But I think we have to look at all options,” Thune said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

For the time being, anyway, Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. John BoehnerN/AHouse Republican AverageSee Full ScorecardN/A is making pleasing noises (this may be part of his “most anti-establishment Speaker in the history of the Universe” campaign):

Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. John BoehnerN/AHouse Republican AverageSee Full ScorecardN/A (R-Ohio) on Thursday signaled that he is opposed to increasing the federal gas tax to help pay for new transportation projects.

Lawmakers in the Senate, including a couple of high-profile Republicans, this week indicated an openness to increasing the 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax for the first time in more than two decades in the face of rapidly declining prices at the pump.

Boehner suggested he does not support the idea of asking drivers to pay more, even though he said passing a new …read more    

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