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White House says Biden a no to Senate's gas tax-inflation gimmick for infrastructure, meeting Monday

Biden has made clear his opposition to raising taxes on people making less than $400,000 a year.

Updated: June 19, 2021 - 12:09pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The White House made clear Friday that President Biden is opposed to tying the federal gasoline tax to inflation to help pay for a $579 billion infrastructure package – dashing a bipartisan Senate plan on how to pay for the measure but keeping his campaign promise of no tax increases on most Americans.

The gas tax increase was part of the group’s early package, which called new spending on roads, bridges, rail and public transit.

The plan by the  bipartisan group of 21 senators is one a several in Washington including House Democrats’ $1.9 trillion package.

"The president has been clear throughout these negotiations: He is adamantly opposed to raising taxes on people making less than $400,000 a year," White House spokesman Andrew Bates said Friday. "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."

The federal gas tax is now at 18.4 cents a gallon and has not increased since 1993. It helps pay for highways and mass transit programs around the country, according to the Associated Press.

Congress has traditionally relied on the user-pay principle to pay for road and bridge work, use as tolls, but is increasingly relying on general funds to accomplish that task. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says fellow Democrats don’t believe the $579 billion package does enough on such concerns as climate and priorities like paid family leave. 

As a result, he is expected to lead his party on two tracks that include a reconciliation package going beyond what’s in the small, bipartisan plan. 

Leaders of the group are expected to meet Monday with Biden on the matter, the wire service also reports.