Biden weighing gas tax holiday, rebate card to ease high fuel prices

President Joe Biden said on Monday that he is hoping to soon have a decision on whether to implement a federal gas tax holiday before the July 4 holiday weekend.

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“I hope to have a decision based on the data I’m looking for by the end the week,” Biden told reporters.

The plan would suspend the 18.3 cent tax paid on each gallon of gasoline sold in the U.S.

A suspension of the federal gas tax — which funds the Highway Trust Fund, which is used to pay for transportation and mass transit projects — would require action by Congress.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that Biden “stands ready to work with Congress,” on relief from the cost of gasoline.

A gas tax holiday would likely be a tough sell for Biden. Both Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, have expressed skepticism in the past about such a move, according to The Associated Press.

The idea was floated by some Democrats in February as gas prices were rising, but at least one Republican senator signaled at the time that the GOP would not support it.

“It’s a desperate cry for help. I think [Democrats] realize they’re on the wrong side of the energy issue, the wrong side of the inflation issue,” Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-South Dakota, told reporters.

“The American people are going to want answers,” he said. “So, I think it’s an attempt to provide some political cover for Democrats who are running for reelection this year and don’t want to have to defend the administration or their party’s position on energy.”

Thune was asked then if he thought any Senate Republicans could support a gas tax holiday.

“I can’t see that scenario,” he said.

According to AAA, the national average cost of gas is $4.98, down from an all-time high of $5.02 a gallon. It is the first time the price of a gallon of gas has dropped in more than two months.

Biden is also considering sending drivers a gas rebate card, he told reporters.

“That’s part of what we’re considering, that’s part of the whole operation,” he said Monday.

It would be the second look this year at a gas rebate card plan that would send rebate cards to millions of American drivers.

Officials ran into logistical problems earlier in the year when a shortage of computer chips made producing enough cards difficult, two people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post. In addition, White House officials expressed concerns that there would be no way to prevent consumers from using the card to purchase other items, according to another person familiar with the discussions.