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Trump Floats Possible Gas Tax Increase

On Wednesday, during a bipartisan meeting with senators, President Donald Trump suggested that he would be open to a 25 cent increase in gas and diesel taxes.

The discussion was first reported by Axios, in which Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) noted that the President was in favor of the measure in order to pay for his recently proposed infrastructure plan. Carper, the senior ranking Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee added, “The President even offered to help provide the leadership necessary so that we could do something that has proven difficult in the past.”

(Source: Jack Gruber, USA Today)

(Source: Jack Gruber, USA Today)

The federal gas tax, which has not been raised since 1993, currently stands at 18.4 cents per gallon on retail gasoline and 24.4 cents per gallon for the diesel alternative.

President Trump’s commitment to making infrastructure improvements has gained both support and opposition from his Republican colleagues. Bill Shuster (R-PA), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, endorsed Trump’s efforts, stating that President Trump “understands that we’ve got to figure out the funding levels and where the money’s coming from, [and] make sure it’s not smoke and mirrors.”

However, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn expressed his discontent, describing Trump’s changes as a “declining source of revenue.” Cornyn, whose donors include oil-giant Koch industries, is among the Republicans who believe that the tax is burdensome not only on the budget, but also on businesses and individuals.

(Source: CNN)

(Source: CNN)

A report by Strategas Research suggests that should Trump’s possible gas tax pass through both houses of Congress, it would eliminate 60% of tax cut benefits for individuals. The measure is estimated to take away $71 billion from consumers. 

While Trump’s suggestion is likely to be passed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for further discussion, it is not the first time the Trump administration endorsed the measure. Last October, Gary Cohn, the National Economic Council director, said that lawmakers will have the chance to raise the federal gas tax following the passage of an infrastructure bill.