White House economic advisor Gary Cohn and Republican lawmakers on Thursday discussed hiking the federal tax on gasoline in order to pay for an infrastructure plan, according to political news website Axios.
The Trump administration will soon release its plan to generate $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending and streamline the permitting process.
Rep. Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania pressed fellow conservatives to consider upping the federal gas tax in a meeting with Cohn during a Republican congressional retreat, a source who attended the gathering tells Axios.
While Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, said the administration is open to all options for drumming up revenue, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming voiced opposition to a gas tax hike, Axios reports.
The issue first came up in May, when President Donald Trump said he might support a gas tax increase to underwrite investments in U.S. infrastructure, a statement the White House later walked back. Cohn reportedly told lawmakers in October they would have an opportunity to raise the federal fuel levy during infrastructure negotiations.
The federal government currently taxes gasoline at the pump at 18.4 cents per gallon, a level that has not changed since 1993. Funds raised through the charge go to the Highway Trust Fund and pay for road construction and investments in mass transportation.
The odds of raising the gas tax look remote right now because the GOP just passed massive tax cuts and the party doesn't want to give the impression of burdening the middle class, top Republican sources tell Axios.
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