“We have a giant infrastructure bill we passed — giant,” he told reporters Tuesday at the White House. “It’s not like before. Look, it will have some impact but it’s not going to have an impact on major road construction and major repairs.”
At another event, Biden economic adviser Heather Boushey down played concerns that a tax cut would just boost profits and that consumers would see little or none of the savings passed on.
Both statements signal Biden may end up calling for a tax holiday. Asked if he’d already made a decision, Biden replied: “I’m in the process. I’ll have a decision before the week is out.”
Biden said Monday he was awaiting data as he weighs whether to call for a temporary suspension of the levy, with fuel prices hovering around $5 a gallon heading into summer, and inflation — at a four-decade high — looming as a political liability for Democrats in the November midterms.
It would be up to Congress to enact a gasoline tax pause, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.
Opponents of suspending the tax say it would risk siphoning money from the Federal Highway Trust Fund that pays for road and transit systems. Biden is suggesting that funding from the infrastructure law passed last year, which included $550 billion in total new funding, could fill the gap.
“Is it going to, in fact, make it difficult to maintain our roads? The answer is we have plenty of capacity to do that,” he said.
Boushey, a member of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, said that state-level tax holidays have aided consumers.
“What we’ve seen in states that have done a gas tax holiday, by and large those savings have been passed on to consumers,” she said at a Washington Post Live event. “There is some hope that we will see that pass through.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday on ABC’s This Week that a temporary suspension is “worth considering.”