WASHINGTON – Some members of Congress are skeptical about President Joe Biden’s proposed gas tax holiday, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Biden asked Congress on Wednesday to suspend the federal gas tax for the next three months in one of his administration’s most aggressive efforts to give Americans a break, as gas prices soar above $5 a gallon in many states.
While saying that “Democrats are united in our determination to lower gas prices for families at the pump,” Pelosi did not commit to backing the plan in a statement issued Wednesday.
“We will see where the consensus lies on a path forward for the President’s proposal in the House and the Senate, building on the strong bills to lower prices at the pump already passed by House Democrats, including the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act and the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act,” Pelosi said.
In the past, she has said at multiple weekly press conferences that there’s no guarantee a gas tax holiday would be passed on to consumers. She has instead supported the idea of gas rebates.
“We don’t know whether we have the votes,” House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Wednesday about Biden’s proposal.
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said on Twitter Tuesday he’s “glad POTUS is exploring ways to lower gas prices at the pump,” but suspending the main way infrastructure is paid for “is a shortsighted and inefficient way to provide relief,” suggesting that other options should be explored.
Biden wants Congress to offset the loss of highway funds – estimated to be about $10 billion – with other federal tax revenue. With the federal government’s deficit down $1.6 trillion this year, the U.S. can afford to pause the gas tax, an administration official told reporters.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Del. and chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, on Tuesday night criticized the proposal through a statement by asking his colleagues to see it as a “shortsighted proposal that relies on the cooperation of oil companies to pass on minuscule savings to consumers – the same oil companies that made record profits last year and a staggering $35 billion in the first quarter of 2022.”
A three-month federal gas tax holiday would suspend a tax of 18.4 cents per gallon of gas and 24.4 cents for diesel that drivers pay when they fill their tanks. The administration is billing the gas tax holiday as a way to provide some “breathing room” as it works to bring costs down over the long term.
Contributing: Joey Garrison
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pelosi doesn’t embrace Biden’s gas tax holiday proposal
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