Several vulnerable Democratic Senators have introduced legislation to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax as prices at the pump continue to soar.
Democratic Arizona Senator Mark Kelly and New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan introduced the “Gas Prices Relief Act” Wednesday. The bill would suspend the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax for the rest of the year. The bill is co-sponsored by Democratic Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, Nevada Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jackie Rosen, and Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock.
Kelly, Hassan, Cortez Masto, and Warnock are considered vulnerable seats in contested races in the 2022 midterms. Kelly, Cortez Masto, and Warnock are all rated as toss-ups by the Cook Political Report, while Hassan’s seat is rated as Lean Democratic.
“Arizonans are paying some of the highest prices for gas we have seen in years and it’s putting a strain on families who need to fill up the tank to get to work and school,” said Kelly, who lamented last month that inflation is “really hurting Arizona families and families across the country,” but put the blame on large corporations rather than federal government fiscal and monetary policies. “This bill will lower gas prices by suspending the federal gas tax through the end of the year to help Arizona families struggling with high costs for everything from gas to groceries.”
“This legislation is about making sure that we get Granite Staters relief at the gas pump. People are feeling a real pinch on everyday goods, and we must do more to help address rising costs, particularly the price of gas,” said Hassan, who was one of the eleven Senate Democrats who sent a memo to President Biden in November urging him to use every tool at his disposal to lower costs at the pump. “We need to continue to think creatively about how we can find new ways to bring down costs, and this bill would do exactly that, making a tangible difference for workers and families.”
“This is important legislation that will help us lower costs for Nevada families,” Cortez Masto added. “I’m committed to finding solutions that bring our families some much-needed relief at the pump and help them get ahead.”
“Whether it’s working to ease supply chain issues, crack down on corporate greed, or cap out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, I’m committed to lowering rising costs for Georgia families,” added Warnock. “Hardworking Georgians being squeezed at the pump understand that every penny counts. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Gas Prices Relief Act to help working and middle class families overcome the economic pressures of the pandemic, and come out on top.”
The [Consumer Price Index] data showed that inflation had increased by an annual rate of 7%, the fastest year-over-year increase in nearly 40 years, as The Daily Wire reported. “The number of price categories experiencing inflation of 3% or more in the past year has nearly doubled since December 2020. That share is the highest it has been since 1991,” The Wall Street Journal reported, via The Daily Wire. Food inflation did slow down slightly month-over-month, but food prices were still up by more than 6% annually. Gasoline actually saw a slight decrease in price month-over-month, but prices at the pump are still up by almost 50% since last year. Energy prices as a whole were also up by nearly 49%, and used automobiles were up by more than 37% year-over year.
According to AAA, gas prices have soared to an average of $3.469 per gallon, a full dollar more than this time last year. Prices have also jumped in recent days, after several weeks of much slower increases. Gas is also now above $3.00 per gallon in every state in the United States, according to AAA. California continues to lead the nation in gas prices, at $4.681 per gallon. Experts have predicted that prices will continue to increase in 2022, approaching or even breaking record highs by spring.