House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) made it clear Thursday that the Republican House has little chance of passing any increase in the gas tax, an idea being raised by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate.
"When the Democrats had total control of the Congress, they couldn't find the votes to raise the gas tax," Boehner told reporters. "It's doubtful that the votes are here to raise the gas tax again."
While Boehner didn't categorically slam the door on the idea, he made it clear he's opposed and wants to find other ways to fund federal highway programs.
"I've never voted to raise the gas tax," he said. "Funding a highway bill is critically important, it's a priority for this year. How we'll fund it, we're going to have to work our way through this."
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) raised eyebrows this week when he said Congress should consider an increase in the gas tax in order to boost federal highway funding. Corker suggested pairing it with a drop in federal income tax rates.
But Corker drew criticism from conservatives nonetheless, for talking about an idea that many Democrats seem to favor. Democrats like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have said lower gas prices make it a perfect time to increase gas taxes, since drivers are already paying nearly $2 less per gallon than they were just a few years ago.
Glenn Beck criticized Corker on Tuesday for bringing up the idea, and said a tax would just take away the rare price break that drivers are getting.
"Prices dip. We get a breather at the pump," Beck said. "So what do the clowns in Washington do? What are they doing? They want to push for a federal gas tax! I’ve got to tell you — I'm going to lose my mind."