Senate GOP leaders skeptical of Trump's payroll tax cut

President TrumpDonald TrumpPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Biden flexes presidential muscle on campaign trail with Virginia's McAuliffe Has Trump beaten the system? MORE's push to include a payroll tax cut in the next coronavirus bill is being greeted with skepticism by members of the Senate GOP leadership. 

Trump and members of his administration, including Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe 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 Democrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer MORE, are publicly pushing to include the tax cut, with the president warning there will not be another coronavirus relief bill without it. 

But asked about the payroll tax cut, Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneFrustration builds as infrastructure talks drag On The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Transit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said "we'll see," adding that a "payroll tax cut only helps if you're on the payroll," in an apparent reference to the tens of millions who have recently filed for unemployment.


"I'm not a particular fan of that. We looked at it before. ... I guess I'm open to being persuaded that it is something that could be effective, but I think some of the things that we're currently doing are having a bigger impact," Thune said. 

Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe Hill's Morning Report - Will Schumer back down on his deadline? GOP fumes over Schumer hardball strategy Cybersecurity bills gain new urgency after rash of attacks MORE (R-Mo.), another member of GOP leadership, added that "I'm not persuaded that that's the best way to move forward." 

"What we need to do now is look at what we've done," Blunt said. "I think we ought to evaluate whether we're still where we were six and eight weeks ago."

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSchumer feels pressure from all sides on spending strategy Data reveal big opportunity to finish the vaccine job GOP senators invite Yellen to brief them on debt ceiling expiration, inflation MORE (R-Texas), an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHas Trump beaten the system? Yellen to Congress: Raise the debt ceiling or risk 'irreparable harm' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Tokyo Olympics kick off with 2020-style opening ceremony MORE (R-Ky.), called Republicans “divided” on the payroll tax cut.

“I never thought that really would be very effective,” added Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTransit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - Infrastructure vote fails; partisan feud erupts over Jan. 6 panel Senate falling behind on infrastructure MORE (R-Maine).  


Trump has repeatedly floated the idea of a payroll tax cut, but so far lawmakers have refrained from including it in their coronavirus relief packages. 

Trump appeared to make the inclusion of a payroll tax cut a red line in the upcoming negotiations on the next stimulus bill, which would be the fifth piece of legislation passed by Congress in response to the coronavirus.

“We’re not doing anything unless we get a payroll tax cut. That is so important to the success of our country," Trump said during a virtual town hall with Fox News on Sunday. 

McConnell has yet to say if he supports including the payroll tax cut in upcoming legislation.

The GOP leader has drawn his own red lines for the upcoming bill, saying it has to include expanded liability protections for employers who are saying they could be sued as states start to try to lift social distancing restrictions. 

In addition to a lukewarm reaction from key senators, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiYellen to Congress: Raise the debt ceiling or risk 'irreparable harm' Freedom Caucus presses McCarthy to force vote to oust Pelosi The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Tokyo Olympics kick off with 2020-style opening ceremony MORE (D-Calif.) has called a payroll tax cut a nonstarter.

“Nobody’s putting anything on the table and saying, ‘Unless we have this, we’re not doing that.’ He shouldn’t either,” she told CNN on Monday.