WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden faces an uphill battle to get Congress and some states on board to suspend federal and state gasoline taxes — a move intended to offer relief to Americans as gasoline prices rise. exceed $5 a gallon nationwide.
Biden was met with skepticism on Wednesday as he called on Capitol Hill and state lawmakers to suspend the federal gas tax for the next three months. The move would pause a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel.
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., wrote in a tweet he was glad the president was looking for ways to lower gas prices, but wasn’t entirely convinced that cutting taxes was the answer.
“Suspending the main way we pay for infrastructure projects on our roads is a short-sighted and inefficient way to deliver relief,” Carper said.
As he called on Congress to suspend the gas tax, Biden said he wanted to do “everything possible to bring the price of energy down.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, would not commit to supporting the proposal, instead saying “we’ll see where the consensus is on the way forward for the president’s proposal in the House and Senate.” .
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Cutting the state gas tax on top of the federal suspension could provide savings for beleaguered American families.
But some experts warn that petrol prices will rise after the tax holiday ends.
“It’s a gimmick. It would make the bad inflation picture, the underlying pressures of an inflation picture, worse,” said Marc Goldwein, senior vice-chairman of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a government organization. nonprofit public policy focused on tax issues in Washington DC
Earlier this year, Maryland, Connecticut, Georgia, New York and Florida had already declared a gasoline tax exemption.
Now, it’s unclear whether Biden can also get more states to support suspending their own gas taxes, even as some governors applaud Biden for trying to find solutions at the federal level.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer praised Biden for seeking to suspend the federal gasoline tax and called for a temporary suspension of the state gasoline sales tax.
“Americans are feeling the pain at the pumps with gasoline hitting $5 a gallon this month, so I’m glad President Biden is calling for a temporary suspension of the federal gasoline tax,” Whitmer said. in a press release. “If we suspend the Michigan sales tax on gasoline and this is also done, we can save families almost 50 cents a gallon right now.”
Whitmer previously vowed to cut Michigan’s 6% sales tax on gasoline purchases after vetoing legislation that would have suspended her states’ gasoline tax for six months. A new bill is pending that would suspend the gasoline tax for three months, according to Kiplinger.
More than a dozen states have considered suspending gasoline tax increases or delaying gasoline tax increases. So far, Colorado, Illinois and Kentucky have suspended gasoline tax increases.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he supports Biden’s request to Congress for the federal gas tax, but did not say whether he would suspend the sales tax in his state.
“We would like to see Congress finally suspend the federal gas tax to save people money,” Polis said in a statement Wednesday. “It should go through Congress and I would challenge anyone to oppose the suspension of a 22-cent gasoline tax for three months, which will bring immediate relief at the pumps.”
Some governors have previously said they will not suspend gasoline tax in their states.
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“It’s dead. It’s gone. This situation is over,” West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said during a press briefing earlier this month. West Virginia Democrats had lobbied to enact a gasoline tax exemption.
Some other governors, such as Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, have called on their state legislatures to pass legislation suspending the gasoline tax to no avail.
The Virginia State Senate has blocked a measure Youngkin introduced earlier this month for a 90-day gas tax holiday. Democrats hold a narrow majority in the state Senate. The measure passed the House of Delegates, which is controlled by Republicans.
Youngkin tweeted on Wednesday that Democrats in his state are “out of step with ordinary people and their own party”.
“Gas prices are unsustainable for families in Virginia, and it’s amazing that Senate Democrats blocked my gas relief proposal three times and squandered the opportunity to do the right thing,” he wrote in a statement. separate tweet Wednesday. “Virginians deserved a better answer than ‘no’.”
Contributor: Joey Garrison
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: States and Congress Skeptical of Biden’s Gas Tax Waiver