Koch network launches ad campaign opposing Trump's proposed gas tax

A conservative group backed by billionaire conservative activist Charles Koch is putting six figures behind a new ad campaign opposing a proposal to pay for an infrastructure spending package with a gas tax.

 

The Koch-backed group Americans For Prosperity will begin running digital ads on Thursday in 30 districts across 20 states pressuring lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to oppose a gas tax hike.

“Before asking Americans to pay even more at the gas pump, lawmakers should make what we currently raise go further, for example, by stopping the diversion of gas tax funds to projects that have nothing to do with roads and bridges,” said AFP President Tim Phillips.

“Americans rely on a safe, modern federal highway system to travel to and from work, school, and visits with their families — and expect Congress to ensure these critical daily responsibilities remain affordable,” he added.

“Lawmakers must also consider the hard truth that increasing the gas tax would quickly undermine the benefits of tax reform by clawing back billions of dollars from low-and middle-income Americans at a time when they thought they were finally getting some relief.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocratic senator rips Trump's 'let them fight' remarks: 'Enough is enough' Warren warns Facebook may help reelect Trump 'and profit off of it' Trump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' MORE has privately told lawmakers that he’d be open to hiking the federal gas tax in an effort to find common ground with Democrats on a sweeping infrastructure spending bill.

The 25-cent per gallon gas tax hike is backed by Democratic lawmakers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest pro-business lobbying group.

AFP is advocating for lawmakers to find alternative ways to fund an infrastructure package, such as public-private partnerships, cutting regulations and eliminating some labor restrictions.

The White House and lawmakers in the divided Congress are optimistic they can reach a bipartisan consensus on a spending package to repair the nation’s roads and bridges.

Trump surprised lawmakers in a closed door meeting earlier this year when he said he would support a 25-cent gas tax to pay for the infrastructure package, according to Reuters.

“To my surprise, President Trump, today in our meeting, offered his support for raising the gas and diesel tax by 25 cents a gallon and dedicating that money to improve our roads, highways, and bridges,” Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperInstead of raising the gas tax, stop wasting money on frivolous projects To stave off a recession, let's pass a transportation infrastructure bill Overnight Energy: Trump tweets he's revoking California's tailpipe waiver | Move comes as Trump visits state | California prepares for court fight | Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges lawmakers to listen to scientists MORE (D-Del.) said at the time. “The president even offered to help provide the leadership necessary so that we could do something that has proven difficult in the past.”