BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Gas prices continue to soar and President Biden is asking Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for three months to help your wallet. But there are mixed reactions on both sides of the aisle.
AAA is estimating the average cost of gas in Louisiana is $4.48, which is lower than the national average of $4.94. Both sides have been skeptical of how much it will really help. Some point to former President Barack Obama calling the move a “gimmick” in the past. Congressman Troy Carter believes it is a small step in the right direction to lowering costs.
“If you were told you can eat at a discounted rate at a restaurant for three months, would you call that a gimmick? Would you walk away from it? Or would you take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the discount,” Rep. Carter said.
When it comes to other ways to lower costs, Carter said every option needs to be considered.
Sen. Bill Cassidy said he would only potentially support the tax pause if it is attached to other measures to put a bigger dent in the cost. While most U.S. refineries are at capacity, he suggests opening ones that have closed down or having refineries elsewhere to refine American oil.
“If he couples it with some other policy that is actually a real energy policy, we’re going to increase the amount of energy we’re going to produce but we’re also going to make it easier to bring to market… let’s see if we can get there,” Sen. Cassidy said.
Republicans are pointing to the administration’s projections for the demand for oil and gas to continue to grow as a reason to change their energy policies.
“Their own estimates show that there’s going to be a growth in global demand for these fuels over the next 30 years at least and so why would you beat up on something that you know is going to be needed. You know you produce it’s safer and it can provide economic benefits to the United States. It just doesn’t make sense,” Rep. Garret Graves said.
Another concern about suspending the gas tax is the projects the money will be taken away from. Rep. Graves fears it will delay projects like the new Mississippi River Bridge among other highway projects across the state.
“It takes tens of billions of dollars away from funding our transportation solutions and so while it may pretend to solve a problem in one place, it absolutely creates a problem in another,” Rep. Graves said.
It will be up to a vote of Congress to suspend the tax for the requested three months, but no vote has been set yet in either chamber.