The White House explored offering Americans gas cards and stimulus checks to help offset high costs, but legislative committees opposed the idea, questioning its feasibility and usefulness.
High energy costs are putting political pressure on the Biden administration, which is exacerbated by Western sanctions on Russia, and Democrats are keen to deliver some form of legislative response.
Govt May Give Out Stimulus Checks Instead Of Gas Cards
The White House explored having the IRS deliver gas cards and stimulus checks to Americans this week, but it was a short-lived notion that was violently rejected by certain prominent House Democrats. According to a senior Democratic staffer, the stimulus check proposal came up as part of a bigger package to address gas pricing, which is still in the early stages. Because of execution challenges and fraud concerns, the Biden administration is concerned that gas cards will not work.
Cards have been taken from mailboxes in the past, according to a person familiar with the administration’s thinking, who added that they are weighing the benefits and drawbacks of several solutions.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, gas prices soared to new highs, albeit they have been progressively declining over the last week. High gas costs have the potential to aggravate inflation and stifle economic growth.
In a coordinated effort with the International Energy Agency, the Biden administration has already announced the release of oil from emergency stocks. Efforts by US officials to persuade OPEC to increase output have failed, at least so far.
After gas prices reached new highs last week, Democrats in both chambers have started brainstorming bills to cut them.
Other possibilities being explored, according to the senior Democratic aide, including stimulus payments, increasing ethanol production to reduce oil consumption, and terminating oil corporations’ federal leases that aren’t being used.
Several Democrats have already submitted legislation to suspend the federal gas tax, impose taxes on oil firms to pay means-tested aid, and offer a government refund anytime gas prices exceed $4 per gallon.
High inflation is expected until the middle of the year, according to Fed Chair Jerome Powell, so gas costs will continue to be a hot topic in midterm elections.