White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki makes comments at a press conference at the White House in Washington, Feb. 8, 2021.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
The Biden administration is not considering an increase in the federal gas tax as a way to help pay for its historic infrastructure proposal, the top White House spokeswoman said.
The topic of the gasoline tax came up on Tuesday afternoon during press secretary Jen Psaki’s briefing, when a reporter asked her on Monday to discuss reports suggesting President Joe Biden could be open to raising the gas tax from the current 18, 4 cents per gallon.
In yesterday’s meeting with members of Congress, the president mentioned the gas tax only to point out that even a significant increase in the gas tax, which some people have proposed, would yield only a fraction of the investment the country needs “, he says. she said.
“Now he fundamentally does not believe that paying for this historic investment in rebuilding our country’s infrastructure and creating millions of jobs should come at the expense of Americans.”
Asked to confirm that there is currently no talk of a gas tax increase, Psaki replied, “Correct.”
That the White House is not considering an increase in the gas tax is remarkable given the early hurdles the government faces in selling its plan to Capitol Hill.
Republicans and Democrats love the idea of repairing the country’s roads and bridges, expanding broadband access, and ensuring access to vocational training. But the $ 2 trillion price tag of the Biden plan is causing politicians in both parties to be concerned about the scope of the proposal and the ways to pay for what would be another multi-billion dollar fiscal stimulus.
To date, the White House has put forward the idea of raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% and has sought to discourage corporate profit offshoring.
Biden, who met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on the infrastructure plan on Monday, has said he will engage with Republicans who are skeptical of the US jobs plan and hear their criticisms. Still, the president has warned that he is willing to move forward with the plan without a Republican vote, seeing the plan as pivotal to the recovery of the economy from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The gas tax concept is often criticized for having a disproportionate impact on rural and low-income communities. Nor would it be a viable long-term option for a government hoping to convince more Americans to trade in their gas-powered cars for electric vehicles.
Aside from a gas tax, Biden could choose to investigate income taxes, a mileage tax, make money from the power grid, or fund the plan by covering the interest costs associated with taxable municipal bonds.