With everyone trying to figure out ways to keep gas prices in check, one of the top options is the gas stimulus check, initially opposed by a group of House representatives. But how far is it likely given that the Gas Rebate bill was first introduced in March 2022 and has seen little movement since?
The Gas Rebate Bill was introduced by House Democrats to provide automatic stimulus payments to some when gas crossed the $4 a gallon mark. The payments were proposed to be linked to the Adjusted Gross Income of an individual and the cutoff AGI was set at $75,000.
Known as the Gas Rebate Act, it was introduced by Democratic Representatives Mike Thompson (Calif.), John Larson, (Conn.), and Lauren Underwood, (Ill.). The original proposal was to send individuals making $75,000 or less, or joint filers with an AGI of $150,000 or less, $100 each time gas prices go above the $4 per gallon mark in any month for the whole of 2022.
Will There Finally Be A Federal Gas Stimulus Check
With inflation touching record highs in 2022 that have surpassed 4-decade old figures and remain there, it is natural that gasoline should be one of the most affected of everyday things for an average American.
Spending on gas merely for just making it to work and back home is enough to burn a big hole in the expense of any low and moderate-income American.
In the absence of any comprehensive measure by the federal government in 2022, tied down by Republican intransigence and the midterm election in November, the Biden administration has resorted to multiple short-term options to support Americans while also attempting to address the issue of inflation, which has turned into the dominant issue for Americans, going into the midterms.
Falling Back On The Gas Stimulus Check
Some of the ideas that the federal administration has contemplated include a tax holiday over gasoline and tapping into the emergency oil reserves. The administration hopes that the tax holiday will encourage gas companies to step up production. But the dormant Gas Rebate Act proposed by several Democratic Representatives in the first quarter of 2022 remains one of the foremost proposals.
Several states have proposed their version of the gas stimulus checks even though the federal government could not move ahead with the Gas Rebate Act.
One of the major states to have initially contemplated a gas stimulus check in the form of a debit card was California under Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. He had proposed every California household with a registered car get a $400 debit card.
Every household owning a car registered in the state was to get a card with each household eligible for a maximum of two cards. An equivalent amount was proposed as a transit card for households and individuals not owning a car.
It was slated as a $9 billion direct payment stimulus check to benefit millions of Californians.
Gas prices in California are the highest in the country with the average price almost double the national average for several factors. The rate in the last week of September was $7.4 a gallon, and it has stayed at that level throughout October despite the national average staying below the $4 a gallon mark.
Governor Newsom had unveiled the proposal even as gas companies took advantage of the worldwide shortage and have continued to rake in record profits. The package was intended as a means of protecting people from volatile gas prices, and advancing clean transportation.
Individuals and families without cars were to be provided 3 months of free public transportation, fast-tracking electric vehicle incentives and charging stations, and fresh funding for local biking and walking projects.
The proposal was later upturned when state Democratic legislators suggested a third state stimulus check that had a bigger budget and covered the low and middle-class households of California.
The Gas Stimulus Check Of 2022
The 2022 Gas Rebate Act proposed that eligibility be linked to the Federal Adjusted Gross Income. To receive the stimulus check it was proposed that the maximum payments would go out to filers will be less than $75,000 for individuals.
Those with an individual AGI between $75,001 and $80,000 would get a lesser amount based on a sliding scale with payments phased out for individuals earning over $80,000.
For joint filers, the full stimulus check would go out to married couples filing jointly and with an Adjusted Gross Income of less than $150,000. Those with a joint AGI between $150,001 and $160,000 would get a reduced stimulus check and payments would be phased out for those with an AGI above $160,000.
The income listed above is similar to the rule followed for determining the three federal stimulus checks linked to the pandemic and the economic downturn that followed.
The Gas Rebate Payment Remains A Proposal At Present
The 2022 Gas Rebate Act remains only a proposal for now even though inflation has ensured that gas prices continue to be a major cause of worry about low and moderate households and individuals.
No fresh proposals should be expected as the US heads to the midterms in November and President Biden is in grave danger of losing control over both the House and the Senate in the face of sustained campaigning on economic issues by the Republicans.
The inflation rate and the price of every essential product from gasoline to groceries continue to dominate political matters, overriding abortion as the main issue that Americans are concerned about.
For now, the initiatives appear to be confined to a few states, with California sending out a $1,050 stimulus check for households in the low-income category, mainline as a gas rebate to cope with high gasoline prices.
In North Carolina, senators have proposed a stimulus check to local licensed drivers a one-off payment of $200.
Despite realizing that Americans have been weighed down by high prices, mainly the price of gasoline, the Biden administration is gridlocked in Washington political intrigues and has little power to push through another federal stimulus check to help out households and individuals affected by record gas prices that house double from pre-pandemic levels.