A Senate committee approved on Tuesday a $9.6 billion package to help plug a $12 billion shortfall in a bipartisan two-year surface transportation bill.
Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., fought off a Republican proposal that mirrored a House proposal to use revenue from gas and oil leases to supplement the Highway Trust Fund. The package for the $209 billion bill includes a transfer from the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund, the usage of penalties levied against low-mileage vehicles and the removal of a tax credit on biofuels.
The package also features a change in tax law that would require people who inherit an individual retirement accounts to begin paying income taxes on them five years after receiving them.
Sen. Mike Enzi proposed gaining more funding by allowing the motor fuel tax rate rise and fall with inflation, but the Wyoming Republican later withdrew the amendment.
“I know there are a lot of sensitivities in talking about the rate of the motor fuel tax. There is no doubt that individuals and businesses are still stressed in this economy and are struggling to make ends meet,” Enzi told the committee. “We cannot continue to kick this conversation down the road for another two years.”
The bill might be taken up by the full Senate on Thursday.