Gov. Wolf Applauds President Biden’s Ban on Russian Energy Imports, Calls on Congressional Leaders to Enact Federal Gas Tax Holiday

March 08, 2022

Governor Tom Wolf today applauded President Joe Biden’s plan to ban the import of Russian oil, liquified natural gas and coal to the United States in response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.

“This horrific act of aggression on the peaceful, independent country of Ukraine and its people demands a global response, and I’m proud that we are doing our part as a commonwealth and as a nation. Pennsylvania stands with Ukraine and we are taking steps to ensure we support them and divest from Russia,” Gov. Wolf said. “I’m pleased the president shares my commitment to sever ties with Russia. Banning the import of Russian oil, liquified natural gas and coal inflicts real economic consequences on Russia and sends a powerful message that we will not do business with them.”

Also today, Governor Wolf joined with four fellow governors to urge Congress to pass legislation that would address rising gas prices by suspending the federal gas tax until the end of the year. 

“Like most Americans, Pennsylvanians are grappling with rising gas prices as they navigate paying for other household needs, from their rent or mortgage to groceries and other necessities,” Gov. Wolf said. “A federal gas tax holiday would ease some of that pain on Pennsylvanians’ wallets without impacting important infrastructure projects that are funded through the federal Highway Trust Fund.” 

The Gas Prices Relief Act would alleviate the consumer cost of rising gas prices while protecting the federal government’s capacity to make infrastructure investments. 

Gov. Wolf joined Governors Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Jared Polis of Colorado, Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico and Tony Evers of Wisconsin in authoring a letter to the leaders in the US Senate and House Monday.  

A copy of the governors’ letter to Congressional leaders. 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McCarthy, and Leader McConnell, 

As Congress looks to relieve Americans of the financial stress caused by increased gas prices amid international crises and rising inflation, we support federal legislation to address rising gas prices by suspending the federal gas tax until the end of the year. 

According to the American Automobile Association, the national average gas price in the United States is $4.17, up more than a dollar from 2021. The Gas Prices Relief Act as introduced in the House and Senate – H.R. 6787 and S. 3609 respectively – would alleviate the consumer cost of rising gas prices while protecting the federal government’s capacity to make infrastructure investments.

First, it saves Americans at the pump by suspending the federal gas tax for the rest of the year. Money saved at the pump translates into dollars back in consumers’ pockets for groceries, childcare, rent, and more. 

But importantly, the legislation would also ensure the Highway Trust Fund stays solvent. The bill would authorize the U.S. Department of Treasury to transfer general fund dollars to replace the temporarily lost revenue of a halted federal gasoline excise tax. Furthermore, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) dedicated an additional $118 billion to the Highway Trust Fund, and the Trust Fund’s capacity to finance the construction and maintenance of roads, bridges, and highways across the country would not be diminished by the legislation. For these reasons and more, we know it is possible to invest in infrastructure and also provide meaningful relief to consumers at the pump. 

At a time when people are directly impacted by rising prices on everyday goods, a federal gas tax holiday is a tool in the toolbox to reduce costs for Americans, and we urge you to give every consideration to this proposed legislation.

Governor Wolf has taken numerous direct actions since the horrific invasion of Ukraine by Russia began. Pennsylvania is one of the largest purchasers of liquor in the United States, ​and Gov. Wolf ​was one of the first governors to urge a stop on the sale of Russian-made liquor in state stores, which was quickly acted upon. Gov. Wolf ​successfully called on the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System and the Public School Employees’ Retirement System to divest from Russia. Gov. Wolf applauded Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity for her commitment to divest state investments from Russian companies. At the governor’s direction, agencies under his jurisdiction are review​ing contracts to ensure there are no contracts with Russia.

The governor supports clean legislation to add Russia to the list of countries that we divest all public funds from under law​, such as the concept recently announced by House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, as well as Democratic Senate and House legislation providing $2 million ​in state funds to provide fast, flexible support for Ukrainians fleeing conflict​ who may come to Pennsylvania.

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