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Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday that the Energy and Treasury departments will “formulate a plan” to help the oil and gas industry, which is imploding as a result of rock-bottom prices.

Reality check: Trump’s policy levers are limited in nature and cannot change the overall downward trajectory of oil prices, which have spiraled dramatically as the coronavirus has choked off demand for oil.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

One level deeper: Trump renewed his push Monday for the government to buy roughly 75 million barrels of oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — or, alternatively, offer part of the SPR as basically a rental storage unit for U.S. companies.

  • "This is a great time to buy oil," Trump said. Congress has not funded the effort thus far in its coronavirus relief bills.
  • Trump also touted plans to use the SPR as storage space. "We're going to ... either ask for permission to buy it, or we'll store it," he said.
  • The Energy Department last week said it's negotiating with nine companies to store roughly 23 million barrels of oil in the SPR.

What we’re watching: What kinds of policies are born out of Trump’s tweet.

  • Trump's reference to the Treasury Department indicates he may try to give some sort of fiscal or tax relief, which could help some companies but won’t provide an overall lift to the sector.
  • The president has also floated taxing imports of oil, which countries like Saudi Arabia are opposed to.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jul 29, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Trump heads to Texas oil patch as “dominance” agenda teeters

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

President Trump will tout his policy of "restoring energy dominance" in Texas oil country Wednesday, but market forces, OPEC and a raging pandemic are complicating his plans.

Driving the news: Trump's swing through the state today includes a visit in Midland to a Double Eagle Energy oil rig and speech on energy, and a fundraiser in Odessa.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.