Driving Off the Fiscal Cliff


Congressional leaders and Obama Administration officials continued to meet behind closed doors the past several weeks in order to come to a compromise on the fiscal cliff. Many in Washington are speculating the possibility that the federal gas tax may be reexamined as a revenue option during discussions.

Incoming House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Nick Rahall (D-WV) have both said publicly that raising the gas tax should be on the table at this time, in order to create a reliable revenue stream for the nation’s surface transportation system. However, outgoing Chairman, John Mica (R-FL),has refuted those comments by declaring that raising the gas tax as this time is too politically charged and therefore will not currently be under consideration.

In the meantime, President Obama has recycled an old idea during the fiscal cliff talks by proposing once again a one-time infusion of $50 billion for the nation’s infrastructure. Many House Republicans quickly argued that the expense should not be made as part of a compromised package, including long time infrastructure advocate, and retiring Congressman, Steve LaTourette (R-OH).  Talks continue  behind closed doors, and President Obama and Speaker Boehner are reported to be personally communicating on ways to avert going over the cliff, including the possibility for a much anticipated but mythical “grand bargain”.

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