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Gas stimulus check: which legislators are pressing for its approval?

Support for those struggling with spiralling energy prices could receive targeted support in new plans from Congress which will put money back in your pocket.

¿Por qué está bajando el precio de la gasolina en Estados Unidos antes del verano?
Rodrigo GarridoREUTERS

With sky-high energy prices, people in America are crying out for more support to help pay their bills. According to some estimates, gas prices may bump up the costs for a typical family by $2,000. Prices have fallen slightly in the last week, but remain more than $1.37 higher per gallon compared to a year ago, according to information from the US Energy Information Administration.

Plans have been mooted in Congress to try and alleviate these problems. They range from moves similar to the stimulus checks of the last two years to a tax on profits for big oil companies.

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How much will each plan give you?

A new bill proposed by Reps. Mike Thompson of California, John Larson of Connecticut and Lauren Underwood of Illinois is under consideration. Called the Gas Rebate Act, the bill would give an energy rebate of $100 per person each month, according to the statement. Dependents would also receive $100 a month. This would be in place as long as the national average gas price remained above $4 a gallon. Currently, the average is $4.239 a gallon.

The gas stimulus would "provide middle-class Americans with monthly payments to ease the financial burden of this global crisis," Thompson said about the proposal. Like the stimulus checks, single filers earning less than $75,000 annually would receive the full $100 rebate, while the checks would be phased out for people earning up to $80,000. Joint filers who earn less than $150,000 would qualify, with the payment phased out at up to $160,000 in household income.

Are there other plans?

Another proposal is from Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island. Their plan is to tax profits of the oil companies and pay this out to American's each year. This is similar to what is already in place in Alaska, where residents receive a cut of oil profits as a dividend each year.

The Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax, as it is called, would charge a per barrel tax equal to 50 percent of the difference between the current price of a barrel of oil and its pre-pandemic average price between 2015 to 2019. The average price of a barrel in this period was $57.16.

The two lawmakers calculated that if the per barrel price sits at $120, the tax would raise about $45 billion a year, providing single filers with $240 annually and joint filers with $360 each year.

"As Russia's invasion of Ukraine sends gas prices soaring, fossil fuel companies are raking in record profits. These companies have made billions and used the profits to enrich their own shareholders while average Americans are hurting at the pump," Khanna said in the statement.