Trump blames Democrats after GOP rejects payroll-tax cut

President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE on Thursday sought to blame Democrats after Senate Republicans rejected a payroll-tax cut in the coronavirus relief package that they're crafting with the White House.

"The Democrats have stated strongly that they won’t approve a Payroll Tax Cut (too bad!)," Trump tweeted. "It would be great for workers. The Republicans, therefore, didn’t want to ask for it. Dems, as usual, are hurting the working men and women of our Country!"

Trump has been pushing for a payroll-tax cut throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and said in a recent Fox News interview that he might not sign a relief package that doesn't include one. He argued that such a tax cut would provide savings to workers and encourage businesses to hire and retain employees.


The White House and congressional Republicans have been working on a proposal that would lay out their priorities before negotiations with Democrats. Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinMenendez, Rubio ask Yellen to probe meatpacker JBS The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election MORE, White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsAllies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records MORE and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyOvernight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Top Democrats tout California recall with an eye toward 2022 Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race MORE (R-Calif.) indicated as recently as Monday that a payroll-tax cut would be in the forthcoming legislation.

But few Republican lawmakers supported the idea. They raised concerns about such a cut's impact on Social Security, and said they preferred a second round of direct payments.

"My sense is ... there’s not much, I would say, support for the payroll-tax cut," Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneManchin-McConnell meet amid new voting rights push Republican leaders misjudged Jan. 6 committee A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate MORE (S.D.), the second highest ranking GOP senator, said Wednesday.

Mnuchin on Thursday said that while there won't be a payroll-tax cut in Senate Republicans' forthcoming proposal, the idea could be a part of a subsequent coronavirus bill.

He said the GOP proposal would include a second round of direct payments that resemble the first round mandated by the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in late March when Congress provided for payments of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child for individuals with incomes of up to $75,000 and married couples with incomes of up to $150,000. The payment amounts phased out for people with income above those thresholds. 


Mnuchin argued Thursday that Americans would get more money faster through additional direct payments.

"One of the issues I think you know about the payroll-tax cut is, people get that money over time, so the president's preference is to make sure that we send out direct payments quickly, so that in August, people get more money," Mnuchin said on CNBC.

Many economists across the ideological spectrum argued that a payroll-tax cut wasn't the best way to provide financial relief to Americans, noting it wouldn't help people who are unemployed.

Congressional Democrats are also opposed to a payroll-tax cut; House Democrats did not include one in the $3 trillion coronavirus relief package they passed in May.

Jordain Carney contributed.