Both Republicans and Democrats criticized the measure, pointing it would have suspended the tax just until after the November elections. Opponents also said the measure, attached to a bill that would reduce inheritance taxes, could jeopardize road, highway, bridge and safety projects.
The amendment was proposed by Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Mich., who is in a close re-election race, and several other senators from the Midwest, the region that has been hardest hit by increasing gasoline prices. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, also co-sponsored the measure.
The bill would have reduced fuel prices by 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel.