On the Money — Biden’s plan to lift gas tax has limits, experts say

·4 min read
A man pumps gas at a mini-mart in Pittsburgh on June 15, 2022.

There is no panacea for high gas prices, though President Biden’s push to lift the gas tax may not do much.

We’ll also look at a potential price cap on Russian oil and more legal trouble for former President Trump’s social media network.

But first, a look at five under-the-radar 2024 potential Democratic presidential candidates.

Welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. For The Hill, we’re Sylvan LaneAris Folley and Karl Evers-Hillstrom. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Experts see risk with little upside in gas tax break

Experts are warning that President Biden’s proposed gas tax holiday would do little to defray pain at the pump and actively take a toll on infrastructure and the environment.

The 18-cent federal tax, which Biden has said should be suspended for three months amid steep gas prices, is “very little money” for individuals, said Beverly Moran, professor of law emerita at Vanderbilt Law School.

“It just doesn’t make any sense. If the government wants to do something to help people who are having problems with their, you know, the cost of gas, they can send out another check to people,” Moran told The Hill in an interview. “They aren’t even considering how they’re going to stop companies from just eating up the difference … keeping the same price and just pocketing the tax.”

The breakdown: Modeling by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania indicates that a gas tax suspension from July to September would only mean a per capita spending reduction of $4.79 to $14.31, depending on location, but would reduce overall government revenues by about $6 billion.

The Hill’s Zack Budryk has more here.


G-7 moves closer to backing price cap on Russian oil

The Group of Seven (G-7) countries are moving closer to endorsing a price cap on Russian oil — an untested plan that would seek to limit the Kremlin’s profits from selling the commodity worldwide.

The idea has been floated in recent weeks as the United States and its allies search for ways to further squeeze the Russian economy to punish President Vladimir Putin for the war in Ukraine. Energy exports are the leading source of revenue for the Russian economy.

The price cap has been a source of discussion during the G-7 summit in Germany over the past two days, where President Biden is huddling with counterparts from Germany, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen first said last week that the U.S. was discussing the idea of a price cap with its allies.

The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant and Rachel Frazin have the latest here.


Americans’ views of economy, finances worsen: poll

Three-quarters of Americans rate the current condition of the economy as fairly bad or very bad, and a majority are concerned about their ability to afford day-to-day expenses, according to a new CBS News-YouGov poll.

The proportion of Americans who view the state of the economy as fairly bad or worse has grown for each of the past two months, rising from 63 percent in April to 75 percent in the latest poll.

  • Republicans were more likely to have a negative view of the national economy, with just nine percent saying it is at least fairly good.  

  • Thirty-six percent of Democrats and 20 percent of independents viewed the economy as at least fairly good.

Here’s more from The Hill’s Zach Schonfeld.


Federal grand jury subpoenas firm that merged with Trump social network

The firm that merged with former President Trump’s social media company received federal grand jury subpoenas last week, the company disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing Monday.

A grand jury in the Southern District of New York issued subpoenas to each member of the board of directors of the special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, that merged with the Trump Media and Technology Group.

The latest subpoenas add to growing scrutiny of the deal. Federal regulators launched investigations into the merger between Trump’s company and Digital World Acquisition Corp, the SPAC, in December, just weeks after the merger was announced.

The Hill’s Rebecca Klar explains here.

Good to Know

President Biden on Monday signed a national security memo aimed at addressing illegal fishing in international waters.

The memo seeks to increase international coordination to address labor issues in the fishing industry and remove labor abuses from the supply chain, according to a White House fact sheet.

Here’s what else we have our eye on:

  • Inadequate access to nutrition has become a threat to public health in the U.S., amplifying existing food insecurity and social issues, the American College of Physicians declared on Monday. 

  • Top Biden administration officials met with health insurance industry executives Monday to ensure that their plan members have access to contraceptive services at no cost.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.


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