President Joe Biden won't accept any infrastructure plans that would index the gas tax, including the proposals floated Thursday by Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney and Delaware Democratic Sen. Tom Carper.
A source familiar with the negotiations told the Washington Examiner Thursday evening that the president was explicit in his communications with lawmakers that he would not sign any bill that calls for indexing the gas tax or instituting a mileage tax for electric vehicles.
Biden promised on the campaign trail not to raise taxes on people earning less than $400,000 a year. The president has maintained that promise throughout the infrastructure negotiations and still views both proposed user fee hikes as major red lines for violating that pledge, the source added.
Romney and a bipartisan group of nine other senators — including Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy, Maine Republican Susan Collins, Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski, Ohio Republican Rob Portman, Hew Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, Montana Democrat Jon Tester, and Virginia Democrat Mark Warner — announced they had agreed on a framework for their infrastructure package on Thursday afternoon.
The group claimed that their "investment would be fully paid for and not include tax increases," yet Romney told reporters earlier in the day the plan "does propose that we index the gas tax to inflation."
The current federal gas tax has not been changed since the Clinton administration and currently sits at 18.4 cents for unleaded and 24.4 cents for diesel.
"There is a general agreement, but it's not locked in concrete at this stage," Romney added. "We're talking to individuals one by one, and so far, the folks who said they're open to what we're doing."
Carper, a close Biden ally, tweeted Thursday afternoon that "things worth having are worth paying for."
"As I've said for the last two Congresses, at a minimum we should index the gas tax to inflation to help fund investments in climate-resilient infrastructure," he wrote.