Biden mulls federal gas tax holiday. Jan. 6 committee wants to talk to Pence, Ginni Thomas. Israel: ruling coalition collapses, new PM takes over.
Biden mulls federal gas tax holiday
President Biden has said he hopes to have a “decision based on the data” by the end of this week about decreeing a federal gas tax holiday by the end of this week. The current federal gas excise is $0.184 per gallon. Assuming your gas tank holds about 12 gallons, it’ll save you about $2.20 each time you fill your tank. State gas taxes will still apply.
Rising gas prices have been at the forefront of many American’s minds, especially since the embargo on Russian oil and gas helped to drive up prices worldwide. It’s a serious political concern for Biden and the Democrats, with Republican candidates making gas prices a major focal point for the mid-terms.
However, the truth is there’s little Biden or any president of any party can do to control the global forces driving gas prices. Critics have called on Biden to increase US drilling. But American oil and gas companies already have about 9000 unused drilling leases from the federal government. Whether or not they choose to use them is determined by market forces. It’s in Big Oil’s best interesting to keep gas prices high by drilling less.
Furthermore, since the US, unlike many other oil and gas producing countries, does not own the means of production, it also cannot easily control where the oil goes once it’s out of the ground. If Shell or Chevron can get a higher price for American gas in Europe, for example, that’s where it will go. So, more domestic drilling doesn’t necessarily mean lower gas prices at home, at least not in the immediate term.
It’s also possible a gas tax holiday will simply drive up demand, giving oil companies no incentive to lower prices.
Jan. 6 committee wants to talk to Pence, Ginni Thomas
The select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capital are considering subpoenaing former Vice President Mike Pence. The latest televised hearing on Thursday, June 16, focused on Trump’s campaign to pressure Pence to halt the certification of the election results on that day. John Eastman, a legal scholar and outside counsel for the Trump campaign, had floated a controversial theory that Pence had the constitutional right to reject slates of electors or send the decision back to the states. Despite promoting the theory publicly, the hearings revealed that Eastman himself expressed doubts whether such a plan would pass the constitutional sniff test.
Pence consulted with his own legal team, other conservative legal scholars and even fellow Indiana Republican and former VP Dan Quayle. All told him that Eastman’s contention was bunk and that Pence’s constitutional role in the vote certification was largely ceremonial.
The committee has also publicly repeated its desire to speak to Virginia ‘Ginni” Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. However, there is no suggestion yet that they will subpoena Ginni Thomas. The committee had previously called on Ginni Thomas to speak with them when texts between herself and Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows came to light. The committee is renewing its call for her speak to them after it came to light that Mrs. Thomas was also in contact with John Eastman.
The next public hearing is scheduled to air tomorrow, June 21, at 9a.m. ET/10a.m CT.
Israel: ruling coalition collapses, new PM takes over
The fragile and fragmented ruling coalition that took power in Israel just over a year ago has collapsed. On June 13, 2021, 8 parties in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) representing views across the political spectrum formed a coalition government. These included, far-right, centrist and leftist parties and even an Arab party. Their sole unifying purpose was to keep former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu out of power. Netanyahu is currently facing corruption charges and has repeatedly refused to step down as head of the right-wing Likud party.
Under an agreement, the coalition was to be led by Naftali Bennett, leader of the ultra-nationalist Yamina party, as Prime Minister for two years. Then Yair Lapid, a former broadcaster and leader of the centrist party Yesh Atid, would take over as PM for the next two years.
A member of Bennett’s Yamina party has left the coalition, meaning that the coalition can no longer govern. Bennett has now handed over the reins to Lapid, who will serve as PM until elections in October. These will be Israel’s fifth round of general elections in under four years. Netanyahu’s Likud party is likely to once again win a plurality of the vote. However, it’s uncertain whether he will be able to find willing coalition partners to govern.
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