President Trump on Monday said that he is open to raising the gas tax to help pay for infrastructure projects.
In an interview with Bloomberg News, Trump said he would "certainly consider" a gas tax hike “if we earmarked money toward the highways.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer later stressed during a briefing that Trump did not endorse a gas tax increase.
Instead, according to Spicer, Trump told Bloomberg that he would consider the request of a transportation group that met with him and expressed support for raising the gas tax.
Trump has made enacting a $1 trillion infrastructure package one of his top priorities.
The federal gas tax hasn't been increased since Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonVirginia governor's race enters new phase as early voting begins Business coalition aims to provide jobs to Afghan refugees Biden nominates ex-State Department official as Export-Import Bank leader MORE was president, and there has been bipartisan opposition to raising it.
But some lawmakers have expressed an openness to raising the tax in recent years to boost infrastructure funding. A number of states have also increased their own gas taxes.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said at an event hosted by The Hill in March that he supports "looking at everything" when it comes to finding revenue to pay for infrastructure. The top Democrat on the panel, Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, offered legislation in March to raise the gas tax by about 1 cent per year.
Trump also told Bloomberg that he remains interested in a "reciprocal tax" on imports.
“If a country’s charging us 52 percent and we’re charging them nothing for the same product going back and forth? Nobody can fight it,” he said.
Neither a gas tax increase nor a border-adjustment tax were included in the tax plan that the White House released last week.
The White House plan would lower the top individual income rate from 39.6 percent to 35 percent and the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. It also would eliminate deductions other than those for charitable giving and mortgage interest and do away with the estate tax and the alternative minimum tax.
Trump told Bloomberg that he is willing to give up parts of his tax plan as part of negotiations with Congress but wouldn't provide any specifics.
He also said that he'd like tax cuts to be permanent, but reiterated that "we're doing a very big tax cut."
- updated at 4:56 p.m.