"We do not feel that an increase in federal gas taxes is necessary at this time," White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater told reporters.
Fitzwater's remarks all but guaranteed that, unless President Bush changes his mind, the federal levy will remain at 9.1 cents a gallon. The Democratic leaders in Congress, sensitive to the unpopularity of tax increases, have been saying for months that they would not seek to raise taxes without first getting Bush's approval.
A keystone of Bush's election campaign last year was the oft-repeated pledge: "No new taxes."
On NBC's "Meet the Press," Dole (R-Kan.) said Sunday: "I would support a gas tax increase for rebuilding the infrastructure, not for debt reduction."