Three Democratic House representatives announced last week that they are sponsoring a bill that will send money to Americans to help with the rising cost of gasoline.
House reps. Mike Thompson of California, John Larson of Connecticut and Lauren Underwood of Illinois are co-sponsoring the bill that would send a $100 monthly energy rebate to drivers for any month through the end of the year when the national average gas price exceeds $4 per gallon.
The bill would send $100 to single people earning less than $75,000 annually. The rebate would be reduced for those earning between $75,000 and $79,999 and phased out for those earning $80,000 or more.
Those who file jointly and earn less than $150,000 would qualify for the rebate, which would be phased out for those who earn above $160,000. Americans would also get $100 per month for each dependent, according to Thompson.
“Americans are feeling the impact at the pump of Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and right now we must work together on commonsense policy solutions to ease the financial burden that my constituents are feeling,” Thompson said.
Prices for a regular gallon of gas were $4.23 nationwide on Thursday, according to AAA. The price is up from $2.87 one year ago.
Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee, took a swipe at the plan, saying more of an emphasis should be put on drilling for oil in the U.S.
Democrats want gasoline ‘stimulus’ checks.— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) March 24, 2022
Let’s deal with the root cause instead. It’s time for the U.S. to restart the Keystone pipeline, drill domestically, and become a net exporter of oil and gas.
The bill is one of many measures being considered by state and federal officials to help consumers cope with the rising cost of gasoline. But the bill is one that will likely have a hard time getting out of Congress.
Another measure that was reportedly considered had the White House sending gas cards - similar to debit cards - to U.S. families, according to a report from Axios this week, A White House spokesperson later told CNN that a plan to send out gas cards was never seriously under consideration.
So, what can be done, if anything, to give consumers a break on high gas prices?
What about a federal gas tax holiday?
While the idea of gas cards may be on hold, the prospect of a federal gas tax holiday is being considered by some in Congress, and the idea has drawn criticism from not only Republicans, but also some Senate Democrats, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“I think it’s a gimmick,” said Sen. Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina. Tillis said the Biden administration would have to encourage more U.S. energy production for him to support such a bill, “Otherwise it’s just coincidentally a reprieve between now and after the election. I think anyone can look at that and see it for what it is.”
Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, also called the plan a “gimmick, and said that it is “not going to make any difference.”
The federal tax on gasoline sits at 18.4 cents per gallon.
Kennedy went on to say that Senate Republicans “haven’t talked a lot about it,” according to report from Kiplinger.
As of Thursday, there are no Republican co-sponsors of the federal gas tax holiday bill currently before Congress.
Sen. Ben Cardin, Maryland, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Oregon, both Democrats, also expressed concerns about a gas-tax holiday, according to the Journal.
“There are a lot of steps ... that we either considered or moved forward on that we may not have considered before. That’s the nature of the crisis we’re in,” said Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania. “There’s no question that prices are very high, gasoline, food.
“We’ve got to consider measures that directly help families,” he added.
A group of six governors including Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania; Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan; Jared Polis, Colorado; Tim Walz, Minnesota; Michelle Grisham, New Mexico and Tony Evers, Wisconsin, announced support for a federal tax holiday earlier this month.
Today, governors @GovMLG, @GovEvers, @GovofCO, @GovernorTomWolf, @GovTimWalz and I are announcing our support for a federal gas tax holiday. We need to do all we can to put money back in people's pockets. pic.twitter.com/SXIT59iC97— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) March 8, 2022
What about state gas taxes?
Where some relief has come, is from state legislatures.
On Wednesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom said he’s considering sending direct payments of $400 per vehicle to state residents. The plan would cap the payments at two vehicles.
In Georgia, the state gas tax has been waived through May 31. Waiving the tax will save drivers 29 cents per gallon on gasoline and 32 cents per gallon on diesel.
Maryland acted first, pausing its gas tax for 30 days through April 16, Gov. Larry Hogan said on Twitter.
On Wednesday, the Connecticut General Assembly approved a three-month suspension of the state’s 25-cent-per-gallon excise tax.
©2022 Cox Media Group