Pelosi: Gas Tax Hike Doesn’t Have Majority Support in Congress

After touring the Detroit Auto Show yesterday with fellow lawmakers,
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took one question yesterday: Why are
Democrats not pursuing a federal gas tax hike, given its potential to cut carbon emissions and its support from auto industry players aiming to stoke demand for efficient cars?

large_080325_nancy_pelosi_quell_infighting.JPGHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (Photo: mlive.com)

Pelosi’s answer was a lengthy one, but here’s how she began:

Well, there certainly has been advocacy for such a position. It does not,
certainly, have a majority in the Congress of the United States at this
time. So we want to approach this in a way that is comprehensive, that
certainly keeps in mind of concerns of the consumer, the concerns of the
industry, and of the environment.  This is not to say one idea is better
than another — it’s just to say that at the present time, there are other
initiatives that we have.

Pelosi added that she had met earlier in the day with Debbie Stabenow,
one of Michigan’s two Democratic senators, to discuss the climate bill
pending in the upper chamber of Congress. Stabenow is a vigilant
protector of her state’s auto industry and last year signaled that she ultimately would have voted no on cap-and-trade legislation.

"[W]e’re hopeful that some of the
initiatives that are in that [climate] legislation — when it passes and is signed into
law — will address some of the same concerns that a gas tax would," Pelosi said.

But
for now, her answer should be considered equally relevant to the
stalemate over the next long-term transportation bill. Without
congressional willingness to pay for the legislation, through a gas tax
increase or similar new charge, it’s unlikely to come up until next
year.

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