The bill was already in trouble on Capitol Hill before Joe Biden said that he wanted Congress to suspend the 18.1-cent federal gasoline tax for three months.
Both Republicans and Democrats were skeptical about the wisdom of creating $10 billion in highway trust fund gaps during tight budget times. Congress will need to vote again in September in order to lift the suspension.
Senator Joe Manchin (D.W.Va.) stated that he was not yet a Yes vote.
Manchin asked Congress to consider Americans in their own district and stated that West Virginians are experiencing trouble.
“We have poured more than $5 trillion into this market, and it’s all gone. We have higher inflation and more hardship for those who need our help.”
Republicans have already given a thumbs-down to Biden’s idea, so a “No” vote from Manchin would mean Biden’s useless, gimmicky gas tax suspension will die aborning.
Manchin points out that 18.1 cents of gas taxes being suspended does not necessarily mean 18.1 cents will come off the price per gallon of gas.
Manchin said, “Now, to do that and put another hole into the budget is something that is very concerning to me, and people need to understand that 18 cents are not going to be straight across the board — it never has been that you’ll see in 18 cents exactly penny-for-penny come off of that price”.
Dick Durbin (Illinois Democratic Whip) said relief was important but claimed that a temporary gas-tax holiday was a temporary solution.
Durbin stated, “Long-term it’s going to be expensive infrastructure investment.
But, Sen. Mark Warner (a Virginia Democrat) was a key negotiator of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. Alarming is the impact that a gas tax holiday would have on national infrastructure spending and the Highway Trust Fund.
He said that he was “hesitant” about supporting a gas tax holiday. He expressed concern at the proposal by the president to end September’s holiday.
When the Senate’s second Democrat tries making the president feel better it is a sign the bill is in serious trouble.
Biden’s PR stunt was meant to confuse the public. Biden can now accuse Congress of not lowering gas prices if it fails.
Voters are more skeptical of politicians’ electioneering. It shouldn’t surprise us if this proposal is still being considered a week later.