On The Money — Capitol Hill braces for Big Tech showdown

·5 min read

Advocates for some of the biggest technology companies are scrambling to stop key legislation from moving before it’s too late. We’ll also look at growth in green jobs and deeper concerns among Americans about how Washington, D.C., is affecting the economy.

But first, check your ice cream for listeria.

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.

Battle over Big Tech bills goes down to the wire

Lobbying both for and against legislation to crack down on U.S. tech giants is intensifying as the Senate enters a critical month for the antitrust bills.

All eyes are on Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who will need to decide whether to prioritize measures to regulate Google, Apple, Amazon and Meta over other key bills prior to the August recess.

In an effort to run out the clock, Big Tech allies are warning Senate Democrats that their voters expect progress on other pressing issues entering November’s elections. Smaller companies that support the bills are making the case that regulating Big Tech is a winning midterm issue.

  • Bipartisan bills that would bar the big four tech firms from giving preferential treatment to their own offerings and prevent Apple and Google from favoring their own apps in stores advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in March but stalled from there.

  • Big Tech is warning lawmakers that the legislation would undercut privacy and limit popular features like Amazon Prime, while supporters say it would boost competition and improve the cost and quality of services available to consumers.

  • Much of the focus in the home stretch has been on Schumer, given his ultimate say in bringing the bills to a floor vote.

The background: July might be the last month for senators to consider the tech bills before they leave town in August. They likely wouldn’t make much progress on major legislation after the break, when lawmakers typically shift their attention to the November election.

Karl and Chris Mills Rodrigo have more here.

SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE 

Most in new poll say federal government’s actions hurting them financially

The majority of Americans say the actions of the federal government are hurting their family when it comes to their top financial concern, according to a new poll. 

The Monmouth University poll found that 57 percent of respondents held this view, compared to between 34 percent and 47 percent in prior polls. Only 8 percent said that politicians in Washington have helped them.

  • The poll showed that few people are optimistic about the future, as just 23 percent expect government actions to help improve their top current concern, while 45 percent say that those in Washington will take action that hurts them.  

  • These results are almost a complete reversal from the responses one year ago.

SEEING GREEN 

Renewable energy sector saw job growth in 2021: report

Despite a recent setback for regulators working to curb greenhouse gas emissions, a new report from the Department of Energy (DOE) found that in 2021, green energy jobs were on the rise.

The U.S. aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, meaning the country will prevent or take out the same amount of pollution from the atmosphere that it produces.

  • Following the economic shifts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, 2021 saw a 4 percent growth in overall energy jobs, outpacing that of the entire economy, which grew at 2.8 percent.  

  • Of the 7.8 million energy sector jobs in the U.S. in 2021, more than
    3 million were in net-zero emissions-aligned areas, according to the report, accounting for 41 percent of the total. These areas include jobs related to renewable energy, grid technologies and storage, nuclear energy and biofuels, among others.

The Hill’s Gianna Melillo has more on this here.

‘ECON 101’ 

Oil industry group goes after Biden over high gas prices tweet 

An oil industry group blasted a tweet from President Biden’s account over the weekend that called on “companies running gas stations” to lower their prices, saying the “intern” who penned the post should enroll in “Econ 101.”

The retort from the U.S. Oil and Gas Association, which has picked up 19,000 retweets and more than 90,000 likes, comes as the White House says it’s laser-focused on lowering prices at the pump. The president has backed a suspension of the federal gas tax and is considering opening up additional domestic drilling, though neither is expected to lower prices in the short term.

  • In his Saturday tweet, Biden took aim directly at the companies selling gas, saying: “My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril.” 

  • Biden’s call was met with significant pushback, with detractors arguing the tweet displayed a basic ignorance of market realities. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also knocked Biden over the tweet, writing, “Inflation is far too important a problem for the White House to keep making statements like this. It’s either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.”

Read more here from The Hill’s Stephen Neukam.

Good to Know

Twitter filed a lawsuit against the Indian government on Tuesday, pushing back against orders to censor content on its platform.

The lawsuit, filed in the Karnataka High Court against the Union Government of India, listed Twitter Inc. as the petitioner.

Here’s what else we have our eye on:

  • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) extended the state’s pause on its gas tax through mid-August as the nation continues to grapple with high inflation, seeing prices for gas and other goods soar over recent months. 

  • AP: “The 30 NATO allies signed off on the accession protocols for Sweden and Finland on Tuesday, sending the membership bids of the two nations to the alliance capitals for legislative approvals — and possible political trouble in Turkey.”


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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