Biden calls on Congress to approve three-month gas tax vacation

President Joe Biden Called on Congress on Wednesday to pass legislation that would create a federal government tax holiday on gas and diesel for three months to lower prices at the pump.

The break would cut off 18 cents from a gallon of gasoline and 24 cents for diesel as the summer driving season gets underway. The legislation would cost an estimated $10 billion, a senior government official told reporters during a phone call.

Biden said in comments from the White House: “I fully understand that the gas tax holiday alone will not solve the problem. But it will bring immediate relief to families, give them a little breathing room, so we will continue to work to keep prices low for the long haul.” term.”

Biden asked Congress to make the temporary adjustment in a way that would not hurt the Highway Trust Fund, which derives its revenue from fuel taxes. Many lawmakers, mostly on the Republican side of the aisle, have cited the trust fund as one reason why they would not support a holiday on the gas taxthough some Congressional Democrats were critical of it as well.

Biden said he is also calling on companies to increase refining capacity to lower prices in the long run, and gas station operators to devise ways to lower prices.

“These are not normal times. Lower the price you charge at the pump to reflect the cost you pay for the product,” Biden said. “Do it now. Do it today – your customers, the American people, they need help now.”

The Biden administration will face an uphill battle to win Congressional support for its gas tax vacation proposal. A number of Republicans have already moved into opposition, and even Democratic leaders have expressed concerns.

“Well, we tried. And the Republicans blocked it,” Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said at a weekly news conference Wednesday.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said he supports Biden’s goal of lowering prices at the pump, but said he wasn’t sure whether a gas tax vacation would have the “intended effect in terms of selling price and whether in fact, it will save the consumer money.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement that Democrats “will see where the consensus lies on a path forward for the president’s proposal in the House and Senate, building on strong bills to push prices toward the pump has already been passed by House Democrats, including the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act and the Lower Food and Fuel Cost Act.”

Democrats face significant political headwinds just months after November’s midterm elections, as numerous polls show gas prices and inflation as the top concerns for voters.

Biden also called on state and local governments to provide additional consumer relief by suspending state gas taxes or similar actions, senior government officials said.

Biden said, “States are now in a strong position to afford some of these actions.”

different states have introduced their own tax exemptions.

According to AAA data On Tuesday, the national average price was $4.96, with prices higher in parts of the West Coast and Midwest.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, who will meet with oil refining executives on Thursday, told reporters at Wednesday’s White House briefing that she plans to “discuss actions government and industry can take to improve capacity.” and operate their existing refineries safely and to overcome the hurdles that stand in the way of meeting American demand and increasing supply.”

Asked about Biden’s ability to get congressional support for the tax break, Granholm said the president has an “ongoing” conversation with Democrats and Republicans about cutting consumer costs.

“I hope both sides of the aisle are listening to their constituents to get help,” she said.

The Biden Administration its actions to fight gas prices stepped up in April by releasing 1 million barrels per day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and issuing an emergency waiver to suspend a summer ban on the use of a specific ethanol blend of fuel.

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