LOS ANGELES - With gas prices continuing to set records both in California and nationally, Rep. Adam Schiff announced a proposal Tuesday to suspend the federal gas tax in an effort to ease the pain at the pump.
"For months now, a combination of Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, ongoing supply chain issues and price gouging by the oil companies have been steadily driving up the price of gasoline, to more than $4.50 a gallon nationwide and more than $6 a gallon here in Los Angeles," Schiff said in a statement.
"Yet in spite of this volatility, one thing has remained the same: Big Oil's skyrocketing profits. This is exploitation, plain and simple, and it's unacceptable to all of the people who are having to spend hundreds of dollars more every month just to go about their daily lives, at a time when so many are already struggling to make ends meet."
The federal gas tax is currently 18.3 cents per gallon. Under Schiff's proposed legislation -- "The Federal Gas Tax Suspension and Windfall Profits Tax Act" -- the tax would be suspended through Dec. 31, 2023.
His office said the Highway Trust Fund would instead receive funding through a 50% tax on oil industry profits.
"We can help bring down the cost of oil by suspending the gas tax and paying for it with a windfall profits tax on oil companies," Schiff said.
- Los Angeles Chevron gas station charging over $8 a gallon
- California gas rebate: Lawmakers show little movement while gas prices spike
"This will provide immediate financial relief for consumers and do so in a revenue-neutral way that will ensure the transportation projects people also rely on continue to move forward. At the end of the day, Congress needs to choose between the interests of commuters and those of Big Oil."
Schiff's office said the five biggest oil companies -- Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and BP -- have experienced a profit increase of more than 300% in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same time in 2021.
Republican National Committee spokesperson Hallie Balch responded to the proposal saying: "California Democrats are all talk and no action, especially when it comes to reducing the extreme costs at the pump.
"Drivers have suffered through months of historic price increases and yet it's still taken Democrats this long to address American's frustrations. California Republicans have had solutions for months, which goes to show that Democrats don't care about helping commuters at all."