Biden backs federal gas tax holiday
President backs Georgia Senator's gas tax proposal
President Joe Biden on Wednesday is set to announce his support for a three-month federal gas tax holiday, which would save drivers about 18 cents per gallon and 24 cents on diesel fuel.
The proposal, which must be approved by Congress, had been pushed by Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and other vulnerable Senate Democrats for several months.
It was initially met with skepticism from congressional leaders. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has questioned whether the proposal will lead to savings at the pump. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer went even further: “There’s no guarantee that the sellers, either wholesale or retail, will reduce their prices.”
But support for the idea has only grown in recent days and weeks. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen indicated Sunday that she is open to a gas tax holiday, calling it an “idea worth considering.” Other Democrats facing tough races — who have called on Biden to take more aggressive action against rising prices, were quick to embrace the proposal.
Still, getting it passed with not be an easy task. In the Senate, the bill would need to pass with 60 votes in order to overcome the filibuster — meaning it would need the support of all 50 Democratic Senators plus 10 Republicans.
And at least one key Democrat doesn’t appear to be on board. Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia who chairs the Energy Committee, said that there is “no guarantee” that it will limit the pain at the pump.
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has derided the gas tax holiday as “political games” from Democrats ahead of a critical midterm election. “Democrats want to blow a $20 billion hole in highway funding so they can try to mask the effects of their own liberal policies on working Americans,” the Kentucky Republican said in February.
Here in Georgia, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp has suspended the state gas tax through July, which saves drivers about 29 cents per gallon as the national average price hovers at around $5 per gallon.
But the suspension is set to expire in mid-July. Kemp’s Democratic opponent, Stacey Abrams, has pressed the governor to extend the tax break through the end of the year.