On Monday, Pres. Joe Biden revealed that he is considering a non-permanent halt in the federal gas tax while the White House seeks to take action to decrease the cost of gas ahead of July 4.
According to White House officials, during the July 4 weekend, a couple of days when Americans in the tens of millions are projected to go on the road, is their target for announcing new steps in helping lower record-high gas prices.
The president also said on Monday that he could decide to pause the federal gas tax by the end of the week.
“I hope I have a decision based on data,” he said to reporters, traveling with him in Rehoboth, Del.
Having a holiday for gas tax requires action from Congress, something that one White House official says will likely be challenging. “Republicans don’t want gas prices to come down,” the official stated. “They want Biden to suffer.”
The same official pointed to Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) comment to the Wall Street Journal last November, in which he said rising gas prices and inflation are “a gold mine for us.”
Suggestions Apart from Gas Tax Holiday
The current administration has other steps that they can take, including having a gas rebate. However, a White House official dismissed this possibility, saying it’s “a stretch” and “not in serious contention. Although a gas tax holiday seems to be garnering a lot of serious attention, officials revealed that among the questions they hadn't found the answer to is how long this would last.
The revelation of new measures comes ahead of a meeting that Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is planning to speak with oil refining executives. According to a person familiar with these plans, it is scheduled for June 23, a Thursday. This meeting comes while tensions between the White House and the U.S. Oil industry are surfacing.
According to Granholm’s comment on CNN on Sunday, if the current administration pushed forward on a federal gas tax holiday, several federal funds might stop ending up toward roadway projects, which are part of the infrastructure law the president signed last year.
“If we remove the gas tax, that takes away the funding that was just passed by Congress to be able to do that,” she stated. “So you know, that’s one of the challenges, but I’m not saying that that’s off the table.”