He said the combination of rising fuel prices in the Midwest, and a $50 billion federal budget surplus, justify the $8 billion loss of revenue to the Highway Trust Fund that would result from the tax suspension.
“Hard working Americans created the surplus with their industry and productivity,” Blunt said. “It is not unreasonable to assist the American public, when gasoline prices rise to unprecedented levels for inexplicable reasons. This is a sorely needed tax relief that nearly every family in America would feel in its pocketbook immediately.”
Truckers have been especially hard hit by rising fuel prices. Several times over the past six months, owner-operators have convoyed to Capitol Hill to protest cost increases that are driving many out of business.
Blunt’s call for a suspension of the tax follows other, similar proposals. Among them was a bill by Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-CO, that would suspend the 24-cent-per-gallon federal diesel levy. These efforts stalled, however, when opponents pointed out that the tax cut would jeopardize the Highway Trust Fund.
Blunt is saying that this argument changed when the White House announced this week that the non-Social Security budget surplus this year would amount to $50 billion.
“If the President and the Congress want to help hard working American families with their vital needs quickly, then the 90-day suspension of federal gas taxes should be an idea worthy of debate and consideration,” he said.