HERSHEY, Pa. — Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, ruled out Thursday the possibility of the House taking up a bill to raise the gasoline tax to pay for highway projects, and idea that has been floated by Senate Republicans.
“We won’t pass the gas tax,” Mr. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, told reporters at the Republican policy retreat at the Hershey Lodge.
Plummeting prices at the pumps prompted Senate Republicans to suggest raising the federal gasoline tax, currently at 18.4 cents per gallon, to replenish the federal Highway Trust Fund and pay for long overdue road and infrastructure projects. But the proposals immediately met stiff opposition from House Republicans.
The idea was always a long shot, though it was entertained by two key Republicans, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah and Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe of Oklahoma.
Mr. Ryan’s unequivocal rejection of the gas tax appeared to be the last nail in the coffin for that idea, which was beat back by Senate Republican leaders and dismissed by President Obama.