WASHINGTON – The debate on Capitol Hill is raging over a gas tax holiday, with bipartisan coalitions forming both for and against the idea.
Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain was the first presidential candidate to propose the 18.5 cent break through the summer and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, a Democratic candidate signed on to the idea if it's paid for with a tax on oil companies. Clinton's primary opponent Barack Obama called the holiday a gimmick.
Economist and author Philip K. Verleger, Jr. predicts 80 to 90 percent of the revenue the government would lose — some $9 billion — would go into the pockets of the oil industry, not to consumers, and that's one of the key sticking points for critics of the idea.
"It would defeat everything that we have been trying to do to lower the cost of oil. We could do better by the consumer by not refilling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. She is joined in her opposition to the gas tax holiday by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. Republican Rep. Steven LaTourette of Ohio said he flat out "hates it."
But on the other side of the argument, House Minority Leader John Boehner and Democratic Rep. Joe Crowley of New York are lining up together to consider exploring a gas tax holiday.
Boehner takes the argument one step further, saying not only does Pelosi oppose suspending the federal gas taxes, Democrats are actually cooking up new ways to make gas more expensive.
Although the gas tax holiday issues does not split along party lines, Democrats are uniting in one effort — pushing for a Justice Department investigation into whether fraud or price manipulation may be behind the soaring cost of gas.
FOX News' Shannon Bream contributed to this report.