The American economy was already battered from the pandemic in February. Recovery has been slow as supply chains are still broken. On top of this, when Russia invaded Ukraine, gas prices and inflation soared, squeezing almost everyone’s wallets. On June 22, US President Joe Biden asked Congress to grant the country some relief through a three-month gas tax holiday.
According to the New York Times, Biden has requested that the federal gas tax be lifted during the busy summer travel season. This would mean approximately 18 cents less for a gallon of gasoline and 24 cents less for that of diesel until the end of September. The president called the gesture “a little breathing room” for citizens, but the proposal does not face favorable odds on Capitol Hill.
President Biden admitted that this was a short-term solution to a problem that would require months to solve. He called it an immediate reprieve for the people who need it the most. However, critics have concerns about the proposal’s overall effectiveness. They view it as no more than an attempt by the White House and endangered Democrats to demonstrate that they realize America’s financial woes.
It’s not just Republicans who oppose the plan but also leading Democrats. President Biden plans on reaching out to both parties to gain support. This proposal comes at a crucial time as Biden’s approval ratings have faltered, and Democrats are risking losses in the upcoming midterm elections. The decision to address Congress in the face of opposition sends a message that the White House is urgently trying to bolster support for the president.
Soon after Biden announced the proposal on Wednesday, Representative Steny H. Hoyer, D-MD, pondered if Democrats would have enough votes to move the proposal forward. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the leading Republican, commented that the idea would be DOA in the divided Senate.