President Joe Biden has called on Congress to hit the brakes and provide "big help" to Americans through a federal gas tax holiday for the next three months. But some Democrats, including former president Barack Obama, have expressed the move is merely grasping for an advantage in an election year.
On the campaign trail in 2008, Obama said of the tax suspension, "We're arguing over a gimmick that would save you half a tank of gas over the course of the entire summer so that everyone in Washington can pat themselves on the back and say they did something. Well, let me tell you, this isn't an idea designed to get you through the summer, it's designed to get them through an election."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) in April said gas tax holidays are "good PR," but shared the concern that there is "no guarantee that the reduction in the federal tax would be passed on to the consumer."
Rep. Peter DeFazio, (D., Ore.), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, agreed.
"Suspending the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax is not going to give consumers significant relief—if any at all," DeFazio said in February, adding that the move may have negative effects. "Suspending the tax will blow a $26 billion hole in the highway trust fund this year and cause further delay in rebuilding our decrepit infrastructure and the tens of thousands of jobs that investment would have provided."
Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) also foresees road blocks for infrastructure projects. He said the suspension "just doesn’t make sense," adding, "People want their bridges and their roads, and we have an infrastructure bill we just passed this summer, and they want to take that all away."
The Free Beacon reported Monday that Biden is the least popular president in more than a century. Democrats are on the fence about his viability for a second term and bracing for a tumultuous midterm season.