The gas station of former President Jimmy Carter’s beer drinking brother will not become a national historic site paid for by taxpayers — at least, not yet.
Legislation that would expand the former president’s national historic site by 30 acres at a cost of $17 million over five years was pulled from consideration during a Senate committee meeting Thursday. Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming offered an amendment preventing the Billy Carter Service Station Museum from being included in the expansion, making the Georgia museum a national park. The House has already passed similar legislation.
“The Los Angeles Times posed the question best: ‘In the age of the $787-billion stimulus package, it is, perhaps, a modest question: Should the American taxpayer foot the bill to enshrine the gas station run by the late Billy Carter?’’ Barrasso said during the meeting. “I believe the answer is no.”
The younger Carter was known for his outlandish behavior while his older brother was president, including his promotion of “Billy Beer.”
According to Barrasso’s office, it is unclear when the bill will receive a vote, though his office says he “will continue to fight to ensure that no taxpayer dollars are used to support the Billy Carter Gas Station.”
The Billy Carter Gas Station is privately owned, but its ownership would be transferred to the government if the legislation is approved. The gas station has old gasoline pumps, stacked tires outside, colorful articles from Carter’s closet, commendations from around the world and “Billy Beer” paraphernalia.
“Mother always believed — and she convinced the rest of us — that Billy was the most brilliant member of the family,” said Jimmy Carter, according to a past Associated Press report. “And I don’t think anybody would doubt that.”
Billy Carter died in 1988 of cancer.