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Chambliss backs McCain's gas tax holiday

POSTED: April 30, 2008 5:01 a.m.

SAUTEE — U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said Friday night that he will support a bill by U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that would create a holiday on the federal portion of the fuel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Chambliss spoke briefly to a dinner for Republicans from the 9th congressional district.

"When you leave here, you’re going to be driving into a service station to fill your car with gas and you’re going to be paying the highest price you’ve ever paid in the life of anybody in this room," Chambliss said. "We’ve got a true energy crisis, as well as an economic crisis."

The senator said McCain’s bill, which was introduced Thursday, would place a hold on the federal portion of the gasoline tax for the busy summer travel season.

The proposal would save consumers 18.4 cents a gallon on gasoline and 24.4 cents a gallon on diesel fuel.

"That will give us a little breathing room if I thought the Democrats would ever let us vote on that," he told the partisan audience. "They kind of like high taxes on the Democrat side."

But Chambliss acknowledged that the savings would only be temporary.

The senator, who is now heavily engaged in his re-election campaign, repeated his stance favoring U.S. drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and a proposal currently before the Senate Agriculture Committee which would give greater incentives for creating ethanol from cellulose.

Chambliss used the campaign opportunity to endorse McCain, the apparent Republican nominee. He told the GOP faithful that the next president would likely appoint two and as many as four members of the U.S. Supreme Court and drew applause when he said McCain would be the better choice to make those appointments.

"John is going to be at the top of the ticket," Chambliss said afterward. "He’ll be heading up our platform. A lot of people don’t know John and this gives me a chance to talk about him. He might not have been the first choice of a lot of Georgians, but the fact is, the values of John McCain parallel the values of an overwhelming number of Georgians."

Chambliss, who had a serious split with McCain over a proposed immigration bill in 2007, admits they don’t always see eye-to-eye.

"We’ve had our differences and some very public battles," Chambliss said. "But he is a good friend and he is great American and I look forward to campaigning with him."



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