President Donald Trump has renewed his push for a payroll tax cut as part of a new coronavirus stimulus package, signaling to Republicans that he would not sign the next package without it, according to reports quoting sources close to the issue.
“As he has done since the beginning of this pandemic, President Trump wants to provide relief to hardworking Americans who have been impacted by this virus, and one way of doing that is with a payroll tax holiday,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.
“He’s called on Congress to pass this before, and he believes it must be part of any phase four package,” Deere said.
The payroll tax is the 7.65 percent taken out of workers’ paychecks that funds the Social Security and Medicare trust funds.
White House economic adviser Stephen Moore seemed to have confirmed these speculations in an interview with The Post on Thursday.
“High-ranking White House officials have told me that we will not sign a phase four deal without a payroll tax cut,” Moore said.
“I have talked to several high-level people in the White House who said the president will not sign [the legislation] if it does not include a payroll tax cut.”
It is unclear if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will include a payroll tax cut in the legislation he plans to propose next week, but Democrats have been critical of the idea.
“A payroll tax cut would do nothing to help the 20 million workers who have lost their jobs, and little for those working significantly reduced hours,” Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, told The Post.
“Another payroll tax cut for employers would also shower the country’s wealthiest corporations with billions of dollars,” Wyden said.
The renewed push illustrates the challenges Congress faces in negotiating another coronavirus relief package.
Senate Republicans are pushing for an overhaul to liability laws as part of a temporary set of legal protections for businesses, schools and other organizations, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“I’m not going to put a bill on the floor of the Senate that doesn’t have liability protection in it,” McConnell said during an event in Kentucky on Wednesday.
“This would protect hospitals, doctors, nurses, businesses, universities, colleges, K-12, everyone dealing with coronavirus who acted in good faith,” he said.
Democrats want to include state and local funding, as well as enhanced unemployment benefits, in the next bill, according to Politico.
Negotiations will start next week after both chambers of Congress come back from a two-week recess.
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