At least one Democratic senator has signaled he’s currently not on board with President Joe Biden’s plan to call for a federal gas tax holiday.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) revealed on Wednesday that he has not signed on to the idea.
“I’m not a yes right now, that’s for sure,” Manchin told an ABC News reporter ahead of Biden’s Wednesday announcement.
“Now, to do that and put another hole into the budget is something that is very concerning to me, and people need to understand that 18 cents is not going to be straight across the board — it never has been that you’ll see in 18 cents exactly penny-for-penny come off of that price,” he added.
Biden’s call for a three-month pause on the nation’s federal gas tax was presented as a way to fight “Putin’s price hike.” The move would cut the cost of unleaded gas by 18 cents per gallon and diesel by 24 cents per gallon.
“President Biden understands that a gas tax holiday alone will not, on its own, relieve the run up in costs that we’ve seen,” a White House statement said. “But the President believes that at this unique moment when the war in Ukraine is imposing costs on American families, Congress should do what it can to provide working families breathing room.”
In addition to calling for the gas tax holiday, Biden urged oil companies last week to increase production while cutting profits.
“I understand that many factors contributed to the business decisions to reduce refinery capacity, which occurred before I took office. But at a time of war, refinery profit margins well above normal being passed directly onto American families are not acceptable,” Biden wrote.
Biden’s letter concluded with a plea for help from America’s oil companies.
“I request that you provide the Secretary with an explanation of any reduction in your refining capacity since 2020, and any ideas that would address the immediate inventory, price, and refining capacity issues in the coming months — including transportation measures to get refined product to market,” he concluded.
It’s not the first time the Democrat has not reflexively supported the president’s agenda. In May, Manchin announced his plan to vote against his party’s abortion bill, stating that it goes too far, though he claimed he would support a codification of Roe v. Wade.
The Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill blocked in a February vote, was blocked again in May after all 50 Republicans and Manchin opposed the proposal.
“We’re going to be voting for a piece of legislation that I will not be voting for today,” Manchin told reporters.
“But I would vote for a Roe v. Wade codification if it was today. I was hopeful for that, but I found out yesterday in caucus that that wasn’t going to be,” he added.
Manchin was also opposed to Biden’s Build Back Better legislation. In December, the West Virginia Democrat wrote, “I have always said, ‘If I can’t go back home and explain it, I can’t vote for it.’ Despite my best efforts, I cannot explain the sweeping Build Back Better Act in West Virginia and I cannot vote to move forward on this mammoth piece of legislation.”