The issue of high fuel prices was addressed on the campaign trail Monday, as Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama disagreed on a proposal to suspend fuel taxes for the summer.
Clinton echoed the earlier proposal of Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, when she said Monday she would introduce legislation to impose a windfall-profits tax on oil companies and use the revenue to suspend the gasoline tax temporarily, according to the New York Times.
Obama called the idea of a federal tax holiday a "short-term, quick-fix" that would do more harm than good, because the money, which goes into the federal highway trust fund, is badly needed to maintain the nation's roads and bridges.
Both Clinton and McCain attacked Obama's stance on the issue, accusing him of not trying to help middle-class working Americans who have been hit hard by high fuel prices.
The Times noted that "it is not clear whether Congress will act quickly on a fuel tax suspension and a new levy on oil companies, particularly given the White House opposition. While Democratic leaders are sympathetic, aides said, similar plans have failed a number of times."
The paper noted that on other energy and fuel-price issues, Clinton and Obama have generally agreed, including calling for the suspension of purchases for the national strategic petroleum stockpile, new taxes on oil companies; measures to curb global warming; and putting more federal money toward renewable energy sources. They have also called for a federal investigation of possible manipulation in oil markets.
McCain has also called for a halt to purchases for the petroleum reserve and expressed support of climate-change legislation, but opposes windfall-profits taxes on oil companies.
All three candidates are for stricter fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks and using diplomacy to try to convince oil-producing nations to help lower prices, the paper reported.