US President Joe Biden stands with former President Barack Obama during an event on the Affordable Care Act, the former president’s top legislative achievement, in the East Room at the White House on April 5, 2022 in Washington, US.
Leah Millis | Reuters
former President Barack Obama He called protesting a federal gas tax holiday “one of our proudest moments” during his 2008 campaign—but his two-term vice president, Joe BidenThinks this kind of leave is much needed now because of being in charge at the White House.
President Biden’s Will for three months relief The move comes amid a hike in consumer fuel prices on federal and gasoline taxes, and as Democrats watch public approval ratings plummet months ahead of November’s midterm elections.
Whether Congress goes for Biden’s pitch for a gas tax holiday, and whether he sees a positive response from voters, remains to be seen.
But his former boss Obama in his 2020 bestselling memoir “A Promised Land” touted the political benefits of opposing short-term pocketbook relief for American drivers on the grounds that it would cause long-term financial damage.
In fact, Obama noted that his lock on the Democratic presidential nomination came on the heels of that decision in the spring of 2008.
At the time, Obama was locked in a primary battle with former New York Senator Hillary Clinton, and when he was under fire as a result of controversial sermons by his pastor, Jeremiah Wright.
“Then we got some help from an unexpected quarter,” Obama wrote.
“Gas prices were skyrocketing” and “voters got nothing in a bad mood like high gas prices,” he wrote.
That year’s Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, proposed a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax—as Biden is now doing—and “Hillary immediately supported the idea,” Obama wrote.
When Obama’s campaign team asked him what he wanted to say on the issue, “I told him I was against it,” he wrote.
“While it had some superficial appeal, I knew it would drain the already exhausted federal highway funding, creating fewer infrastructure projects and jobs,” the former president wrote.
“Based on my experience as an Illinois state senator, where I once voted for a similar proposal, I was convinced that consumers would not benefit much. In fact, gas station owners are driving gas prices higher. were likely to keep and boost their own profits because they had to pass on the three-cents-a-gallon savings to motorists.”
Obama wrote that “somewhat surprising to me,” his top campaign advisers agreed with him. And the next day, outside a gas station, he made his argument to reporters for his position, calling it “serious long-term energy policy,” which is “in contrast to the typical Washington solution that both McCain and Hillary were proposing.” they wrote .
Obama then wrote that both McCain and Clinton tried to portray him as unconcerned about the finances of working families, “after shooting a TV ad on the issue, and running it nonstop throughout Indiana and North Carolina.” “Doubled up” on his argument.
Obama called the gas tax holiday a “gimmick” at the time, saying “the easiest thing in the world for a politician to do is to tell you what you want to hear.”
“Without the benefit of the election and in front of pundits who thought we were insane, it was one of our proudest moments,” Obama wrote.
“We started seeing signs in the polling data that voters are buying into our argument,” he wrote.
Shortly thereafter, Obama defeated Clinton in the North Carolina primary by 14 percentage points, and, “more astonishingly, we pulled off an effective tie in Indiana, losing by only a few thousand votes,” Obama wrote.
While there will be more than a half-dozen primaries before the official end of the Democratic contest, “the results from that night told us the race was basically over,” he wrote. “I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.”
Recently, another top Democrat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, has repeatedly criticized the idea of a federal gas tax holiday.
In April, Pelosi called the holiday idea “good PR” but said, “There is no guarantee that the savings, a reduction in federal tax, will be passed on to the consumer.”
A month ago, Pelosi called the idea “too showbiz.”
Biden, who is set to talk about his proposal for a federal gas tax holiday Wednesday afternoon, will ask states to suspend their own gas taxes.
There is currently a 18.4 cents-per-gallon federal tax on gasoline and a 24.4 cents-per-gallon federal tax on diesel fuel.