INSIDE CALIFORNIA POLITICS — Central Valley Congressman Josh Harder will introduce a bill this week aimed at helping people deal with the rising gas prices.

“The Putting Gas Money Back in Your Pocket Act,” proposes sending $500 relief checks to drivers across the country. According to the plan set to be rolled out Wednesday by the Democrat of Turlock, single taxpayers would qualify for $500, while joint filers would receive $1,000 and dependents 16 and older would get $500.

The money would be distributed in the same form as the pandemic stimulus checks and would be sent out within 30 days of the bill’s passage. 

When asked if there would be an annual income threshold, Rep. Harder told Inside California Politics co-host Nikki Laurenzo, “There is no income cap. The goal here is to simplify the process and get this help out ASAP.”

“Sky high gas prices are crushing our community, so today I’m introducing a bill to put money back where it belongs: our families’ pockets,” said Rep. Harder. “The Putting Gas Money Back in Your Pocket Act will deliver $500 gas price rebate checks to every driver in our community so families can afford to get where they need to go. Nobody should have to worry about being able to afford their commute in the morning or picking up their kids in the afternoon.”

This the latest push by Harder to help provide relief from the high cost of fuel. He penned an op-ed in Fox Business in December 2021 titled “I’m a Democrat and It’s Time for Our Government to Stop Making Gas More Expensive,” a piece he discussed on Inside California Politics later that month. Harder also wrote letters to Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders calling for the suspension of the gas tax and state gas price rebate.

There have been four proposals introduced in the past few weeks, at the state level in California, to help deal with the issue of high gas prices, one from Assembly Democrats, another from leaders of both the Assembly and Senate, Gov. Newsom unveiled a plan and so did Republicans.

The GOP is calling for a suspension of the 51 cent gas tax increase, but Democratic leaders have called that a non-starter. AB 1638, a bill introduced by Assembly member Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, in January that aims to suspend the gas tax, received its first hearing in the Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday.