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Gov. Whitmer urges Biden, Congress to pause federal gas tax

After recently vetoing a GOP-led bill to suspend the state gas tax, Whitmer is now asking for a federal gas tax holiday.

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer authored a letter to President Joe Biden on Tuesday, asking him and Congress to consider a federal gas tax holiday.

The letter came just a day before Biden announced that his administration will be calling on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for three months amidst historically high prices for gas and diesel.

The Democratic president also noted that he plans to call on states to suspend their own gas taxes or provide similar relief.

Whitmer wrote in her letter that she is grateful for Biden releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but urges that more needs to be done.

"Here in Michigan, you have a willing partner in providing relief to families and putting more money in people’s pockets. In March, I called for a temporary suspension of the state sales tax on gas, and last month, I proposed MI Tax Rebate Right Now, a plan to send $500 to Michigan’s working families right away," Whitmer wrote in the letter. "We can take this step because of our effective fiscal management and hardworking people and small businesses, who helped our state bring in billions in additional revenue. MI Tax Rebate Right Now proposes sending some of that revenue back to Michiganders because they need it now more than ever." 

In March, Whitmer vetoed a GOP-led bill that would suspend the state's tax on gas and diesel for six months and instead pushed for a suspension of the 6% sales tax on fuel.

Whitmer has also vetoed two GOP bills that would provide tax cuts for Michiganders in March and June of 2022, citing budget and constitutionality concerns, respectively.

Whitmer's letter to the president was part of a long campaign to suspend the federal gas tax that she and other governors across the country have been pursing for months.

"The American people are counting on all of us to provide real relief right now so they can pay the bills and put food on the table. Let us draw on the grit and determination our working families show every day. I urge you to work with Congress to temporarily pause the federal gas tax, and I pledge to continue finding creative ways to put money back in people’s pockets," she wrote.

A federal gas tax holiday has been met with skepticism on both sides of the aisle.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell mocked the idea of a gas tax holiday in a February floor speech.

“They’ve spent an entire year waging a holy war on affordable American energy, and now they want to use a pile of taxpayers’ money to hide the consequences," he said. 

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also publicly expressed doubts about the value of suspending the federal gas tax.

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