Democrats Pan Joe Biden’s Call For A Gas Tax Holiday

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Democratic lawmakers are pushing back on President Joe Biden’s call for a gas tax holiday, arguing that oil companies would pocket the savings rather than passing it on to consumers.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, called the proposal a “shortsighted and inefficient way to provide relief.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) also expressed skepticism.

“I’d like to see some of the data and some of the states that have tried that, whether that’s actually resulted in fully lower gas prices,” he said in an interview with HuffPost.

Biden is urging Congress to pass a three-month suspension of the 18.4 cents-a-gallon tax on gasoline and the 24.4 cents-a-gallon tax on diesel. The proposal should be enacted in such a way as to not affect funding for road projects that rely on federal gas tax revenue, he said.

Biden is also calling on more governors to suspend their state gas taxes. Several Republican governors have already moved to do so, including in Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia.

The average price of gas in the U.S. has hovered around $5 a gallon this week.

The pain at the pump has rattled Democrats about their fortunes in the coming midterm elections. Vulnerable Democratic lawmakers, in particular, have been pushing for a federal gas tax holiday for months.

“While I am encouraged that the President now supports a gas tax holiday, I continue to believe that we should seek to suspend the gas tax for at least the rest of the year, not just 90 days,” Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) said in a statement on Wednesday.

But Democrats in the Senate aren’t the only ones who are skeptical about the idea. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has repeatedly dismissed it, calling the move “very showbiz.”

“The con is that the oil companies do not necessarily pass that on to the consumer … you cannot write a law that requires them to pass it on,” Pelosi said earlier this year.

Economists have also argued that a gas tax holiday could make inflation even worse. Jason Furman, a former top economic adviser to President Barack Obama, said that consumers are in less of a position to benefit from a gas tax holiday today than they were six months ago because of supply issues.

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