Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), a co-chair of the House Problem Solvers Caucus, on Sunday floated increasing the federal gas tax to pay for an infrastructure bill.
Politico wrote Monday that infrastructure negotiations continue with little progress; however, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), the other co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, said that they believe they can pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill even if it means that some lawmakers do not approve of some aspects of the bill.
Fitzpatrick told CNN, “Nobody will be totally in love with the plan, but people will be able to swallow it down.”
To offset the cost of the infrastructure bill, the Pennsylvania Republican said that all options should be considered, including increasing the federal gasoline tax.
Fitzpatrick’s openness to increasing the gas tax follows after the Biden White House nixed the idea.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates said that increasing the gas tax would unfairly punish lower-income Americans, explaining:
The President has been clear throughout these negotiations: He is adamantly opposed to raising taxes on people making less than $400,000 a year. 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.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg floated the idea of pegging the gas tax to inflation in March; however, it quickly lost steam largely because the gas tax is regressive, or it especially targets lower-income Americans.
The gas tax also faced opposition from Biden’s own party, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
“It’s another hit on working people,” Wyden said.
“Democrats want to fund this by taxing people (earning) $400,000,” Brown said.