President Donald Trump signaled support for a 25-cent gas tax increase to help pay for infrastructure at a meeting with lawmakers on Wednesday, a source in the room told POLITICO.
Trump's support, though not confirmed by the White House, represents a stark departure from recent administrations and congressional leaders that have tip-toed around the issue because raising the gas tax is considered politically dangerous.
It's also a surprising turn from Trump, considering that most believed the best chance to hike the gas tax with the least amount of political pain was as part of the tax overhaul, H.R. 1 (115), whose ship has now sailed — and also because the splashy infrastructure plan the administration rolled out two days ago contained no mention of such a thing.
Trump told members he would lead on promoting a 25-cent hike to the federal levy, the source said. A second source familiar with the meeting said Trump backed the concept.
The 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal gas tax has not been raised since 1993. A 25-cent hike phased in over five years would generate an additional $375 billion over the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
- We stop the wars. Bring our troops home from Europe, Japan, Afghanistan and the Mideast. Everywhere actually.
- Trump proposed $686 billion for defense. I propose we slash our military spending by 50%. This would still leave the US with more military spending than any other country. That would give us an extra $343 billion a year.
- US Infrastructure needs repair, but that repair needs to be done at a reasonable price. To achieve that end, we need to scrap Davis Bacon and all prevailing wage laws. We also need national right-to-work laws.
- Of the $343 billion in defense cuts, we could put $43 billion per year on infrastructure, while lopping off $300 billion from the deficit.
- And if we can cut military expense, we should go after entitlements as well.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock