Senate Majority Leader Wants Gas Tax Cut

July 7, 2008 - 7:25 PM

( - Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, (R-MS), said on Sunday that he will continue to push for a roll back of federal gasoline taxes, saying that the current budget surplus would allow for it.

"I want to emphasize," said Lott on CBS' Face The Nation, "My proposal says that it would not come out of the highway trust fund, it would be a temporary gas-tax holiday, and it would come out of the surplus."

Lott said his plan would suspend 4.3 cents of the current 18.4 cent-per-gallon federal excise tax on gasoline through the end of the year. If the average price of gasoline rises above $2 per gallon during the same period, the rest of the tax would also be repealed, said Lott. The average retail price of gas is now about $1.50 per gallon nationwide.

In a nonbinding test vote last week, the Senate backed a motion by Sen. Robert Byrd, (D-WV), to drop the gas tax cut from the budget proposals. Lott said that those who opposed the cut were probably worried about losing highway revenue provided by the tax, but may have been confused by Byrd's debate on the issue.

"The way Sen. Byrd had that worded, you know, you might have voted that way and you might vote differently this coming week, but we're going to vote on it," said Lott.