President Joe Biden’s gas tax holiday is "dead on arrival," said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.
"What the administration, of course, is coming up with is yet another gimmick, another Band-Aid and something they know is dead on arrival up here in Congress," Thune said.
Biden earlier Wednesday urged lawmakers to suspend the federal gas tax for three months alongside other new actions to ease financial pressures on Americans as gas prices are averaging about $5 a gallon nationwide.
Biden’s push faces uphill odds in Congress, which must act in order to suspend the tax, and where many lawmakers, including some in his own party, have expressed reservations. Even many economists view the idea of a gas tax holiday with skepticism.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered a noncommittal response to Biden’s proposal, saying she would look to see if there was support for it in Congress.
"We will see where the consensus lies on a path forward for the president’s proposal in the House and the Senate," Pelosi said.
In his speech, Biden tied higher energy prices to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said, "defending freedom, defending democracy was not going to go without cost for the American people and the rest of the free world." Biden noted that lawmakers backed sanctions against Russia and aiding Ukraine despite the risks of inflation from resulting energy and food shortages.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell mocked the gas tax holiday as an "ineffective stunt" in a Wednesday floor speech. "This ineffective administration's big new idea is a silly proposal that senior members of their own party have already shot down well in advance," he said.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, the Democratic chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he would not support suspending the gas tax.
"I'm going to be working against it. I have the largest committee in Congress, so we'll see," he said.
DeFazio said a better course would be to tax oil companies on "windfall profits."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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