Biden tries to defend his strategy in the face of soaring gas prices
Joe Biden on Wednesday tried to defend his strategy in the face of record gas prices, promising a small tax gesture for the summer, and invoking a necessary sacrifice to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“By suspending the 18-cent (per gallon) federal gas tax for 90 days, we can bring the price down and provide some relief to families,” Trump said Wednesday at the House. -Blanche, by asking Congress to adopt this fiscal gesture, the effectiveness of which is already disputed.
“I know that this tax suspension alone will not solve the problem, but it will give (…) a little air” to households, he added.
The 79-year-old Democrat, whose popularity is weighed down by soaring all prices and in particular by that of gasoline, a very important budget item for Americans, called on distributors to pass on “every penny” of this drop. of tax.
“Now is not the time to take advantage of this,” he warned, speaking in front of large video billboards.
Joe Biden would like the American states to engage and also eliminate their taxes on gasoline, which are 30 cents per gallon on average, or failing that, find compensation mechanisms.
The average price per gallon of gasoline is now at a record high of $5 in the United States ($4.968 on Wednesday), down from around $3 a year ago.
The Democratic president also called on the hydrocarbon giants, with whom he has strained relations, to increase their refining capacities, but also to follow the fluctuations in the price of black gold downwards, not only upwards.
The combined effort of Congress, states and refineries “could lower the price at the pump by a dollar a gallon or more”, estimated Joe Biden.
The suspension of the federal tax of 18 cents, as well as that of 24 cents per gallon of diesel, should cost some 10 billion dollars to the highway infrastructure fund, usually financed by these levies.
The administration claims to be able to compensate for the shortfall.
– “Gadget” measure –
This tax suspension was criticized even before its announcement, including in the political family of the president.
The influential boss of the Democratic camp in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, had rejected such an idea last week, which according to her is “show biz”.
The media also unearthed statements in 2008 by Barack Obama: the future president, against a background of rising fuel prices, had publicly opposed a tax suspension, speaking of a “gadget” measure.
A certain number of experts also expressed their skepticism, in the face of an announcement which in no way solves the fundamental problem: that of a very strong demand in the face of a constrained supply.
Faced with these criticisms, Joe Biden tried on Wednesday to dramatize the issues, recalling that the price of gasoline had risen by two dollars per gallon since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Referring to the sanctions taken by the West against Russian hydrocarbons, he said: “We could have turned a blind eye to the murderous actions of (Vladimir) Putin. Gasoline prices wouldn’t have gone up that much. I believe that would have been a mistake. »
Calling on elected Republicans, who relentlessly point to his responsibility, Joe Biden asked: “So you are saying that we would prefer to have lower gas prices in the United States, and Europe in the grip of Vladimir Putin? »