12:30 Report

The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Lawmakers, economists skeptical of Biden’s gas tax holiday

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden speaks about the newly approved COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5, Tuesday, June 21, 2022, from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.* 

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha–breaks down crying hysterically.

HAPPENING THIS AFTERNOON 

Now you see it, now you don’t!:

President Biden is expected to ask Congress this afternoon to place a pause on the federal gasoline and diesel taxes for three months.  

What is the federal gas tax?: 18.4 cents per gallon on gas and 24.4 cents for diesel fuel

Can Biden do this?: No, Biden needs Congress to pass the gas tax holiday. It’s unclear whether the White House has enough votes to pass this. 

Would that mean consumers will save 18.4 cents per gallon?: Not necessarily. Gas companies can increase their prices.  

Happening at 2 p.m.Watch Biden’s announcement

Keep in mind: Congress is very likely to reject the White House’s federal gas tax holiday ask. The Hill’s Rachel Frazin explains why 

MANY ARE SKEPTICAL ABOUT A GAS TAX HOLIDAY
Even former President Obama called a gas tax holiday a “gimmick” in 2008. (The Hill)

One reason it may not work: It wouldn’t solve the problem of rising fuel prices, just put a temporary Band-Aid on the problem. 

Another reason: It could contribute to inflation.

ECONOMISTS WEIGH ON WHY IT COULD BE A BAD IDEA: 
Via NPR’s Franco Ordoñez

IT’S WEDNESDAY. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Did someone forward this newsletter to you? Sign up here.

🤝In Congress 

Wow, this gun bill could actually pass:  

“The Senate on Tuesday broke through nearly 30 years of stalemate on gun control legislation by voting 64 to 34 to advance an 80-page gun safety bill to respond to the mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas, that left 31 people dead, including 19 school children.” 

That happened fast: Just an hour after the text of the bill was released Tuesday, the Senate voted to proceed to the bill.  

Here are the 14 Republican senators who voted “yes” to advance the bill 

What’s in the Senate’s 80-page bipartisan gun safety bill, via The Hill‘s Alexander Bolton

TIDBIT — THE OUTTAKES ARE BY FAR THE BEST PART OF THIS
Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) filmed a video about teaming up to tackle “consolidation in the agriculture industry.” The video involves the two senators body-slamming each other a few times. Watch — oh how I would have loved to witness the filming for this

🔥 Jan. 6 

Trump wishes there were Republicans on the committee:



In an interview with Punchbowl News, former President Trump said it is “not even a question” that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) should have put Republicans on the committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

In Trump’s words: “Well, I think in retrospect, I think it would have been very smart to put [Republicans on the committee] and again, I wasn’t involved in it from a standpoint so I never looked at it too closely. But I think it would have been good if we had representation.”  

Are there any Republicans on the committee?: Yes, there are two — Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) — but both are outspoken Trump critics.  

BACK STORY — WHY AREN’T THERE MORE REPUBLICANS ON THE COMMITTEE?:  

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy(R-Calif.) appointed five Republicans to the committee, including Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.). Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rejected Jordan and Banks, so McCarthy decided to pull all five Republicans. CNN explainer from July 2021 

FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM TUESDAY’S HEARING:
 

1. “Trump was the driving force behind effort to nullify Biden votes.” 

2. “Attorneys warned it was illegal — and Giuliani acknowledged ‘evidence’ issues.” 

3. “More involvement from lawmakers in Trump’s plans.” 

4. “Total disregard for legal exposure of Trump staff and state officials.” 

5. “[The committee is] dedicated to refuting Trump claims.”  

Context and details for each, via The Hill’s Rebecca Beitsch and Mike Lillis 

HAS TRUMP BEEN FOLLOWING THE HEARINGS?
Former President Trump has been increasing his attacks toward the hearings, a sign that he is aware of the potential threat to his viability to run for another term in 2024. How Trump is specifically responding to the committee’s claims

🚭 Getting traction 

Or how about a cigarette roulette? Does it have nicotine or does it not?



Via The New York Times’s Christina Jewett and Andrew Jacobs, “The Food and Drug Administration is planning to require tobacco companies to slash the amount of nicotine in traditional cigarettes to make them less addictive and reduce the toll of smoking that claims 480,000 lives each year.”  

Expect a lot of pushback: “Tobacco companies have already indicated that any plan with significant reductions in nicotine would violate the law. And some conservative lawmakers might consider such a policy another example of government overreach.”  

From FDA Commissioner Robert Califf: “Lowering nicotine levels to minimally addictive or non-addictive levels would decrease the likelihood that future generations of young people become addicted to cigarettes and help more currently addicted smokers to quit.” What we know about the proposal 

COMPETING REACTIONS:
 

From The Washington Post’s editorial board: “The FDA is taking a historic step to reduce smoking deaths. It’s overdue.”  

From Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown: “Mandating Low-Nicotine Cigarettes Could Make Smoking More Dangerous.”  

🦠 Latest with COVID 

 BY THE NUMBERS 

Cases to date: 86.1 million 

Death toll: 1,008,934 

Current hospitalizations: 22,677 

Shots administered: 592 million 

Fully vaccinated: 66.8 percent of Americans 

CDC data here.

🐥Notable tweets 

Words to ponder on this Wednesday afternoon

Crooked Media’s Sarah Lazarus tweeted, “did I ‘kill a plant’ or did the plant not have what it takes to thrive in this fast-paced environment?”  

More than 533,000 Twitter users seem to agree. 

This is wild:

CBS News tweeted that “three waterspouts were spotted in Mobile Bay, Ala., on Monday. Kelly Woods, who took the footage, said the triple waterspouts were ‘impressive.’ ” Video

On tap

The House and Senate are in. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C.

  • 10:15 a.m.: Biden received the President’s Daily Brief. 
  • 12:30 p.m.: Senators meet for weekly caucus meetings. Today’s Senate agenda 
  • 1:30 p.m.: First House votes. Today’s House agenda 
  • 4:40 p.m.: Harris ceremonially swears in Michèle Taylor as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council. 
  • 5:05 p.m.: Harris ceremonially swears in Scott Miller as U.S. ambassador to the Swiss Confederation and to the Principality of Liechtenstein. 
  • 5:45 p.m.: More House votes. 

 All times Eastern.

📺What to watch

  • 2 p.m.: Biden delivers remarks on gas prices and Russia. Livestream 
  • 3 p.m.: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gives a press briefing. Livestream

🧅 In lighter news 

Today is National Onion Ring Day

A cool video to celebrate the summer solstice

@nyc_timescape posted a time lapse video of New York City during the 2022 summer solstice versus the 2021 winter solstice. Watch — it’s pretty cool to see

And because you made it this far, here’s a dog embarking on an adventure.

Tags 12:30 Report Cigarettes Gas Tax Gun control Inflation Kevin McCarthy Obama

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