On The Money — Disney loses special tax status
President Biden went after Florida Republicans for revoking Disney’s special tax status. We’ll also look at Biden’s response to sky-high gas prices and a new Fed study examining the impact of ending expanded unemployment benefits.
But first, find out why the Dow Jones fell nearly 1,000 points.
Welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. For The Hill, we’re Sylvan Lane, Aris Folley and Karl Evers-Hillstrom. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Biden rips GOP for targeting Disney
President Biden criticized Florida Republicans during a pair of fundraisers Thursday for targeting Disney after the company expressed opposition to a new state law restricting discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms.
“I respect conservatives. There’s nothing conservative about deciding you’re going to throw Disney out of its present posture because, Mickey Mouse? In fact, do you think we should not be able to say, you know, ‘gay’?” Biden said during a recent fundraiser in Seattle.
- The Florida House of Representatives voted Thursday to eliminate a special district that allows Disney to operate as an independent government around its Florida theme parks, and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed the bill Friday.
- The White House has previously condemned what opponents have labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, but Biden’s remarks represented his first public comments about the Republican efforts to target Disney.
- Earlier, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the administration opposes “the governor taking action against a company because of their opposition to that bill.”
The background: The elimination of the special district, which allows Disney to act as its own government and provide services to parts of Orange and Osceola counties, won’t take effect until June 2023. Local officials have warned that the change will saddle area residents with new property taxes to fund those services.
The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant has more on Biden’s comments here.
PAIN AT THE PUMP
Five actions Biden has taken in response to high gas prices
Gas prices are both a top concern for American consumers and a consistent drag on President Biden’s approval rating, prompting the administration to take several measures to counter pain at the pump.
A number of factors impact gas prices, and experts note many of them are outside the White House’s control. Still, the administration has taken several steps in hopes of providing some temporary or near-term relief.
- Some of those moves include releasing tens of millions of barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and removing restrictions on the sale of higher-ethanol fuel.
- Biden has also appealed to oil-producing nations to increase production and pressured U.S. oil companies to take advantage of currently unused leases.
- A recent poll indicated widespread approval for Biden’s decision to ban oil imports from Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, which he warned could exacerbate energy costs. But the same poll indicated 70 percent of respondents disapprove of Biden’s handling of gas prices.
The Hill’s Zack Budryk has more here.
Read more: Why gas is so much more expensive in California than in Texas
NEW UI STUDY
Unemployment benefits cuts didn’t spark job growth, report says
States that prematurely ended enhanced unemployment benefits programs implemented during the pandemic did not see greater job growth compared to states that kept them.
A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco contradicted the theory that expanded benefits disincentivize people from returning to work, which many Republican state leaders argued when they cut the expanded benefits granted by the federal government.
Twenty-six states cut expanded unemployment benefits early as the job market improved in the first half of 2021, with job openings reaching record levels.
But the report found that cuts were only associated with a small increase in hiring activity but no differences in measured employment.
The Hill’s Kelsey Carolan has more here.
FROM MUSK TIL DAWN
House GOP press Twitter board over Elon Musk’s offers to buy company
House Republicans are asking Twitter’s board of directors to preserve all records related to Elon Musk’s offer to buy the company, according to a letter sent Friday.
The request, led by House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and signed by 17 colleagues, raises the possibility of Republicans probing the Twitter board’s decisions regarding the offer if the GOP wins back majority power in the fall.
- The letter adds to Republicans’ unsubstantiated accusations that tech companies, particularly Twitter, are censoring content in a way that demonstrates an anti-conservative bias.
- Musk has laid out a vision for a less-content-moderation-heavy platform if he is successful in his bid to buy the social media company. Republicans, including Jordan and others who signed onto the letter, have cheered Musk’s offer to buy Twitter based largely on his vision for less content moderation.
Check out more here from The Hill’s Rebecca Klar.
VIRTUAL EVENT INVITE
The Hill’s Sustainability Imperative—Wednesday, April 27 & Thursday, April 28—2:00 PM ET/11:00 AM PT daily
Sustainability is not optional—it’s imperative, and everyone has a role to play. On April 27 and 28, The Hill will host its second annual festival convening policy leaders and practitioners in the sustainability ecosystem, featuring interviews with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory, actress Sigourney Weaver and more. RSVP today to save your spot.
Good to Know
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) order for thorough inspections of every commercial truck at the Mexico border this month yielded little results: No drugs, weapons or any type of contraband, a report from The Texas Tribune found, citing data from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Abbott ordered the increased inspections earlier this month, citing a surge of migrants on the border and a lagging response to address it from President Biden. After reaching agreements with each of Mexico’s governors to increase border patrols and security, Abbott lifted the order last Friday.
Here’s what else we have our eye on:
- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will deploy 60 zero-emission electric buses to serve New York City’s five boroughs, a step in the agency’s larger effort to phase out fossil fuel-run buses.
- Ukrainian officials on Friday said the country’s postal service was targeted by a cyberattack following the sale of stamps portraying a Ukrainian soldier giving the middle finger to a Russian warship, according to Reuters.
- A year after President Biden announced the goal of significantly cutting planet-warming emissions by the end of the decade, experts are warning the nation is not on track to meet them.
ON TAP NEXT WEEK
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra testifies before the Senate Banking Committee at 10 a.m.
- A Senate Banking subcommittee holds a hearing on bottlenecks and inflation at 2:30 p.m.
- Punchbowl News hosts a conversation with Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) at 9 a.m.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra testifies before the House Financial Services Committee at 10 a.m.
- Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo testifies before the Senate Commerce Committee on the Commerce Department’s fiscal 2023 budget request at 10 a.m.
- Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen gives a speech on lessons learned from the recovery from the COVID-19 recession at 9:30 a.m.
- The House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on oversight of the Treasury Department Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) at 10 a.m.
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 Monday.