The House of Representatives is rushing to find a way to extend the transportation funding bill that expires in May. But, if one thing’s for sure, raising the federal gas tax will not be the answer, said Rep. Bill Shuster on Thursday.
The Pennsylvania Republican chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, a position he’s held for two years. While infrastructure advocates have pressed lawmakers to increase the gax tax, Shuster said there’s “no willing in this Congress or in the administration” to take that course of action, The Hill reported.
“I think pretty much everybody in this town has come to the conclusion that repatriation is where the dollars are,” Shuster told reporters Thursday. Repatriation is a method that focuses on taxing overseas revenue of American companies and has been introduced in plans by both parties.
President Barack Obama drafted his own repatriation proposal as part of the transportation bill sent to Congress in February. Obama’s plan would tax companies’ overseas investments at a 14 percent rate — generating around $238 billion to be used on infrastructure, according to the administration.
Shuster, though, does not approve of the president’s proposal.
“I think the president is going about it the wrong way,” he said. “He’s going to tax those profits whether they come back here or not. I think that’s going to drive companies to go off-shore and say ‘you know, we’re not an American company anymore.’”
For Shuster, the best way to move forward is a proposal “giving them [companies with overseas investment] a reduced rate, allowing them to bring it back in to use those dollars in their own companies as well as go collect some revenue from it.”
With the disagreement and the deadline pressure, Shuster admitted that a temporary extension may be necessary to appease the May 31 funding deadline.
But Shuster is determined to find a way to tackle drafting a more long-term transportation bill. He will “keep pushing, pushing, pushing until it comes time that we have to do something.”
“Every day that goes by, it gets more and more difficult to hit that deadline,” Shuster said. “If we get the funding solution, I think we can move fairly quickly on a bill.”