Trump renews call for payroll tax cut

Trump renews call for payroll tax cut
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump orders US troops back to active duty for coronavirus response Trump asserts power to decide info inspector general for stimulus gives Congress Fighting a virus with the wrong tools MORE on Friday renewed his call for a payroll tax cut through the end of the year amid negotiations between his administration and Congress on a package to address the coronavirus outbreak.

“If you want to get money into the hands of people quickly & efficiently, let them have the full money that they earned, APPROVE A PAYROLL TAX CUT until the end of the year, December 31,” Trump tweeted Friday morning. “Then you are doing something that is really meaningful. Only that will make a big difference!”

Lawmakers from both parties have voiced opposition to the idea of a payroll tax cut after Trump began pitching it earlier this week. Trump outlined the idea during a Tuesday lunch with Republican senators. Democrats, who control the House, in particular immediately balked at the proposal.

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Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump asserts power to decide info inspector general for stimulus gives Congress Trump signs T coronavirus relief package Pelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill's signing MORE and House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDC argues it is shortchanged by coronavirus relief bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — US coronavirus cases hit 100,000 | Trump signs T stimulus package | Trump employs defense powers to force GM to make ventilators | New concerns over virus testing Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike MORE (D-Calif.) are currently negotiating a deal to provide economic assistance to those impacted by the coronavirus.

Pelosi told reporters Thursday evening that both sides were close to an agreement and that there would be a vote on the measure Friday “one way or another.”

The legislation is expected to provide for paid sick leave, free coronavirus testing, increased unemployment benefits and meals for students from underprivileged families who need them, according to a letter Pelosi sent to Democratic lawmakers Thursday night.

Trump first publicly pitched the idea of a payroll tax cut at a news conference Monday evening, and again raised it during an Oval Office address to the nation on Wednesday. 

Payroll taxes are taken out of workers’ paychecks to fund Social Security and Medicare. Congress last passed a payroll tax cut in 2011 and 2012 during the Obama administration.

Some economists have criticized the proposal as insufficient, saying it wouldn’t help workers who could be laid off due to the economic fallout of the coronavirus. Some also say the action would do little to boost the economy because Americans are less likely to spend extra money on travel and other forms of entertainment during a virus outbreak.