News Briefs

Davids welcomes, GOP denounces president’s decision to turn corner on federal fuel tax

By: - June 22, 2022 11:17 am
U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kansas, welcomed President Joe Biden's endorsement of suspension in the federal fuel tax, but she urged Congress to adopt a bill dropping the tax until Jan. 1. (Kansas Reflector screen capture from campaign video)

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kansas, welcomed President Joe Biden’s endorsement of suspension in the federal fuel tax, but she urged Congress to adopt a bill dropping the tax until Jan. 1. (Kansas Reflector screen capture from campaign video)

TOPEKA — U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas said Wednesday President Joe Biden should have long ago called on Congress to suspend the federal fuel tax and maintain that policy throughout 2022.

Biden administration officials said the president endorsed a three-month suspension of the federal diesel and gasoline taxes through September. He also encouraged states to temporarily remove taxes on fuel and recommended refineries increase production of fuels.

“My preference would have been to see the president take this step sooner, because for months I have been hearing from Kansans who are feeling the squeeze from those extraordinary factors and need this relief,” Davids said.

Davids, the 3rd District Democrat seeking reelection, proposed legislation in February that would drop the federal tax on fuel until the end of December. The federal government collects a gasoline tax of 18 cents per gallon and a diesel tax of 24 cents per gallon.

“We are clearly in extraordinary circumstances, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the lingering impacts of the pandemic continue to drive prices up at the pump,” Davids said. “I urge my colleagues to support my legislation to suspend the federal gas tax through the end of the year and promise to continue working to lower everyday costs for Kansans.”

Amanda Adkins, the presumed Republican nominee in the 3rd District, has said suspension of the federal as tax was a publicity stunt by Davids. She said the United States ought to boost domestic oil production, be energy independent and “lower the overall costs of goods and services in this country.”

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, said the president’s push for a 90-day federal fuel tax holiday was a hollow attempt to address a serious economic issue.

“When President Biden took office he immediately sought to undermine American fossil fuel production – creating significant difficulty and uncertainty for domestic producers which has contributed to gas prices skyrocketing to historic levels,” Moran said.

GOP U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, also of Kansas, said the idea of suspending the federal tax on fuel was a “farce.” Instead, the senator urged Congress to adopt his bill to provide a “regulation holiday” for oil, gas and biofuel producers.

“It is well past time President Biden stops with the political theater and abandon his energy policies that have failed our nation,” Marshall said.

The Poynter Institute’s Politifact reported U.S. oil production in President Joe Biden’s first year was on par with 2020 and higher than in two of the four years Donald Trump was president.

The United States produced 11.185 million barrels of crude per day in 2021, compared with 11.283 million a year earlier under Trump. The amount produced in Biden’s first year was higher than the average daily amount produced under Trump from 2017 to 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.