Gas price stimulus checks? Lawmakers consider pump relief

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(NewsNation) — Lawmakers throughout the country are proposing relief measures as record-high gas prices hit drivers’ pocketbooks.

While President Joe Biden’s administration briefly considered the idea of sending gas cards through the IRS, House Democrats have pitched ideas mirroring some popular pandemic relief programs such as stimulus checks and the advance child tax credit.

According to AAA’s gas price tracker, the average price for a regular gallon of gas stood at $4.24 nationally on March 22.

The average price of a gallon of gas was more than $5 in three states: California, Hawaii and Nevada. Several others, such as Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Arizona are inching closer to the painful price point.

With that in mind, lawmakers are looking at ways to help American families who are feeling the pinch.

Reps. Mike Thompson of California, John Larson of Connecticut and Lauren Underwood of Illinois are calling for an energy rebate of $100 per month for individuals or $200 for couples, with the criteria similar to standards used for stimulus checks. The plan would add $100 for each dependent and would go to families for each month the national gas price exceeds $4 per gallon.

Single filers earning as much as $75,000 annually or married couples filing jointly who earn up to $150,000 would be eligible. The Gas Rebate Act would go through the end of 2022.

Two other proposals depend on profits from oil companies.

Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio’s Stop Gas Price Gouging Tax and Rebate Act calls for families to receive a monthly tax credit. The measure would come from a one-time tax on oil companies.

“Big Oil will pay a one-time, 50 percent windfall profit tax on any adjusted taxable income in 2022 that exceeds 110 percent of their average ATI during pre-pandemic levels between 2015-2019,” DeFazio said.

Eligibility would again mirror the stimulus checks program. The amount of money raised by taxing oil companies would determine how much Americans’ would receive.

The measure is intended to target large oil companies, DeFazio said.

It’s similar to an earlier proposal from Rep. Rohit Khanna of California and U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island that calls for a quarterly rebate, with the money raised by taxing oil companies:

Under the proposed bill, large oil companies that produce or import at least 300,000 barrels of oil per day (or did so in 2019) would owe a per-barrel tax equal to 50% of the difference between the current price of a barrel of oil and the pre-pandemic average price per barrel between 2015 and 2019. The quarterly tax would apply to both domestically produced and imported barrels of oil.

Basing his figures on $120 per barrel of oil, Khanna estimated single filers would receive approximately $240 each year, while joint filers would receive roughly $360 each year.

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