Democratic senators at risk of losing re-election introduce bill to suspend federal gas tax

As Americans continue to fork over more and more money at the gas pump, a group of Democratic senators at risk of losing their re-election bids in November have introduced legislation to suspend the federal gas tax.

The Associated Press reported that the federal gas tax has stood at 18.4 cents per gallon for nearly three decades — since 1993. But with gas prices rising, and with the midterms looming, Democratic Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Raphael Warnock of Georgia, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and Catherine Cortez Masto and Jackie Rosen of Nevada say it’s time for a change.

Of the six, all but Stabenow and Rosen are up for re-election in November. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates Kelly, Warnock, and Cortez Masto’s seats as “toss ups,” while Hassan’s seat is in the “lean Democratic” category.

The Gas Prices Relief Act would suspend the gas tax until Jan. 1, 2023.

“Arizonans are paying some of the highest prices for gas we have seen in years and it’s putting a strain on families who need to fill up the tank to get to work and school,“ Kelly said in a statement.  “This bill will lower gas prices by suspending the federal gas tax through the end of the year to help Arizona families struggling with high costs for everything from gas to groceries.”

Hassan expressed similar sentiments.

“This legislation is about making sure that we get Granite Staters relief at the gas pump. People are feeling a real pinch on everyday goods, and we must do more to help address rising costs, particularly the price of gas,” she said. “We need to continue to think creatively about how we can find new ways to bring down costs, and this bill would do exactly that, making a tangible difference for workers and families.”

Cortez Masto said the legislation would “lower costs for Nevada families.”

“I’m committed to finding solutions that bring our families some much-needed relief at the pump and help them get ahead,” she said.

Warnock, for his part, said the legislation would help middle class Americans.

“Hardworking Georgians being squeezed at the pump understand that every penny counts. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing the Gas Prices Relief Act to help working and middle class families overcome the economic pressures of the pandemic, and come out on top,” he said.

The average price for a gallon of gas is currently hovering around $3.45, according to AAA, roughly $1 more than this time last year.

Citing the U.S. Energy Department, CBS News reported gas prices hit their highest level this week since October 2014.