Rep. Davids welcomes president’s decision to turn corner on federal fuel tax suspension

by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector

Topeka — U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids of Kansas said Wednesday President Joe Biden should have long ago called on Congress to suspend the federal fuel tax and maintain that policy throughout 2022.

Biden administration officials said the president endorsed a three-month suspension of the federal diesel and gasoline taxes through September. He also encouraged states to temporarily remove taxes on fuel and recommended refineries increase production of fuels.

“My preference would have been to see the president take this step sooner, because for months I have been hearing from Kansans who are feeling the squeeze from those extraordinary factors and need this relief,” Rep. Davids said.

Rep. Davids, the 3rd District Democrat seeking reelection, proposed legislation in February that would drop the federal tax on fuel until the end of December. The federal government collects a gasoline tax of 18 cents per gallon and a diesel tax of 24 cents per gallon.

“We are clearly in extraordinary circumstances, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the lingering impacts of the pandemic continue to drive prices up at the pump,” Rep. Davids said. “I urge my colleagues to support my legislation to suspend the federal gas tax through the end of the year and promise to continue working to lower everyday costs for Kansans.”

Amanda Adkins. the presumed Republican nominee in the 3rd District, has said suspension of the federal as tax was a publicity stunt and a gimmick.

“America needs to boost domestic production, be energy independent and we need to lower the overall costs of goods and services in this country,” Adkins said.

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Rep. Davids calls for increase in refining capacity to lower gas prices

U.S> Rep. Sharice Davids, D-3rd Dist., joined Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia in calling on President Biden to help reopen recently idled oil refineries.

This would increase refinery capacity temporarily and lower the cost of gas without sacrificing long-term clean energy production goals, according to Rep. Davids.

In addition to pushing this immediate action, Rep. Davids has repeatedly urged the President and Congressional leadership to move forward on long-term energy and inflation solutions, including fixing our supply chains, making more goods in America, and investing in our clean energy economy.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, domestic refining capacity is down to 17.9 million barrels per day, almost as low as it was in 2010.

At the same time, global refining capacity has declined by 3 million barrels per day, even as demand has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

This shortage of oil refining capacity is the result of an unprecedented wave of refinery closures as demand for fuel plummeted during the COVID-19 pandemic—but many refineries could come back online quickly with the right assistance.

Rep. Davids and her colleagues urged the President to take action in a new resolution, stating: “in order to ensure sufficient refining capacity to reduce fuel prices and prevent fuel shortages in the near term, the President should use authorities granted him by the Defense Production Act of 1950 to provide targeted technical and financial assistance to restart certain idled refineries for a limited time.”

The resolution’s focus on a short-term increase in capacity is to address the current price spike facing consumers while also avoiding long-term impacts on the climate, noting that “restarting idled American oil refineries for a limited time could reduce gas prices and cool inflationary pressures without endangering our climate goals.”

Rep. Davids has been focused on lowering costs for Kansans, including gas prices:
• Last week, she successfully pushed the IRS to increase a tax break for small business owners and self-employed folks who rely on a vehicle for their business.
• She voted to crack down on price gouging by oil and gas companies, who have made record profits this year, despite rising gas prices.
• She introduced legislation to suspend the federal gas tax through the end of the year, saving Kansans 18 cents per gallon at a time when gas prices are reaching new highs.
• After voting for bipartisan sanctions against Russian oil, she called on President Biden to take immediate action to protect American consumers from uncertainty and rising prices, including by temporarily suspending the federal gas tax.
• Following Rep. Davids’ calls to take action on rising gas prices last fall, President Biden released 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. He has now authorized the largest release in history: 1 million barrels a day for six months.
• Rep. Davids remains committed to long-term energy and inflation solutions, releasing an inflation action plan last week with the New Democrat Coalition that’s been called Congress’s “best inflation plan yet.”

  • Story from Rep. Davids’ office

Davids, Moran taking part in U.S. supply-chain, domestic manufacturing reform negotiations

Weaknesses exposed by COVID-19 pandemic focus of bipartisan innovation bill

by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector

Topeka — U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran and U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids offered input Thursday into development of a compromise bill designed to improve domestic manufacturing and the nation’s supply chain that were exposed as competitively deficient during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Moran, a Republican, and Rep. Davids, a Democrat, were appointed to the Senate and House negotiating committee working on a combined version of the Bipartisan Innovation Act. An agreement resolving differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill, if approved by both chambers, would be forwarded to President Joe Biden.

The legislation’s objective has been to come to terms with shortcomings in U.S. supply-chain resiliency and domestic manufacturing limitations — semiconductors, for example. One aim of Congress would be lowing costs in the wake of record-setting inflation. In addition, lawmakers feel pressure to grapple with growth in China’s economic and technological power, fuel U.S. research and development and reinforcement U.S. workforce programs.

In Sen. Moran’s remarks to the conference committee in Washington, D.C., the senator said the package ought to feature improved support of so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math. It should to be designed to promote entrepreneurial business activity, he said.

“This committee is tasked with making certain our country is out-competing adversarial nations, including China, which we can do,” he said.

Sen. Moran recommended the final version of the bill include provisions to solidify federal funding of NASA. He said Congress had pieced together financial backing of NASA missions for several years without passage of formal authorization legislation.

“When you can present a bipartisan authorization followed up with the funding of programs, it sends a strong signal to the agency, industry and our global partners that we remain committed in accomplishing our stated missions. This is especially critical as our adversaries continue to advance within the space domain,” Sen. Moran said.

Rep. Davids, in remarks to colleagues on the Senate-House conference committee, said she’d spoken with dozens of Kansas business owners, workers, students and entrepreneurs about the federal manufacturing and supply chain legislation.

“I’ve been on the factory floor with welders who make the railroads that get goods from ship to shelf across our country,” the 3rd District representative said. “I’ve seen firsthand how a Kansas battery manufacturer recycles their materials through the production process to reduce waste and improve efficiency. I’ve met with union autoworkers who were off the line for seven months last year because the chip shortage idled a GM plant in my district.”

“I’ve been out in the community because I want to make sure that during this negotiation, I’m fighting for what our businesses and workers really need,” Rep. Davids said.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic caused global disruption in the international supply chain that escalated prices paid by large and small businesses and consumers.

“But I have to tell you: This isn’t new,” Rep. Davids said. “The reality is we’ve been reliant on goods made in other countries for far too long, and Kansans are paying the price. When we focus on domestic manufacturing, it will not only bring jobs back and boost our economy, it will help lower costs across the board and reduce inflation.”

She said the United States possessed the “innovation, the grit and the talent” to compete with countries like China, but the United States had relied on goods made in other countries for too long. She said focus of the House-Senate agreement had to be investment in American manufacturing and workers, especially those engaged in small businesses.

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