Stimulus Check Update: Is White House Looking to Send More Money?

Multiple news outlets on Friday reported that the Biden administration has recently mulled over a new stimulus plan of sending Americans rebate cards to help offset the escalated price of gasoline.

The Washington Post wrote that senior White House aides have recently revisited a plan to send gas rebate cards to U.S. households after the administration decided against the move months earlier. Fox Business also reported an unnamed official said the Biden administration was considering the rebate cards, though the Post said there are issues holding up the plan.

One sticking point is that officials are reportedly concerned that consumers would use the cards for purchases for items other than gas. The other is that recent shortages in the chip industry may create an obstacle in physically producing the cards.

CNN also cited an official close to the matter as saying that administering the cards and speculation about how the money would be spent are the main obstacles currently preventing the plan from being greenlit. There is also reportedly thought that Republicans in Congress would not sign off on such a stimulus plan.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.

Joe Biden speaks on a virtual call
Officials in President Joe Biden's administration have reportedly discussed sending Americans gas rebate cards in recent days. Above, Biden speaks during a virtual Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on June 17 in Washington, D.C. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Another issue with stimulus checks is that they have been cited as one of the contributing factors to the current soaring inflation. Financial experts have blamed an influx of stimulus cash for causing an imbalance in supply and demand, because the amount of goods available do not currently meet the desires of Americans looking to spend more.

In an attempt to better balance the supply and demand ratio, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday announced its largest interest rate hike in 28 years. This move was done to make consumers spend less because of the higher rates. Americans having more stimulus money to spend could potentially work against this logic.

In March, Axios reported the White House discussed gas cards but shelved the idea. The outlet cited an unnamed aide as saying even some House Democrats had expressed opposition to the concept. Other factors for not pursuing the plan at that time included not wanting to over-extend the IRS, who would be responsible for the distribution, and concern it would worsen inflation.

As of Friday, the national average price for a gallon of regular gas was $5, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). Earlier this week, AAA recorded the highest figure ever for regular gas at $5.016. By comparison, the average price was $3.075 at this time last year.

Recent surveys show Americans are feeling frustrated by paying more at the pump, and Democrats may feel the brunt of their anger.

A poll released last week from The Washington Post and George Mason University's Schar School found that around 44 percent of U.S. drivers said they have only partially filled their vehicle gas tank because of high gas prices.

Meanwhile, an ABC News/Ipsos poll released earlier this month found that 74 percent of U.S. adults said gas prices will be an "extremely" or "very" important factor in how they will vote during the fall's congressional midterm elections.