GOP signals Trump's payroll-tax cut in Republican coronavirus bill — for now

Top administration officials signaled on Monday night that a payroll-tax cut, a top priority for President TrumpDonald TrumpSanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown Laura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement MORE, is in the forthcoming Republican coronavirus aid proposal, at least for now.

Asked if the payroll-tax cut had to be in the Republican bill, Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinSuspect in Khashoggi murder arrested The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to tackle omicron risks with new travel rules Mnuchin and McConnell discuss debt limit during brief meeting MORE told reporters "it's in the bill."

"So we'll see," he added. "We look forward to meeting with everybody." 

ADVERTISEMENT

White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsLaura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 Tucker Carlson extends influence on GOP  Jan. 6 panel asks McCarthy to cooperate MORE, asked about the payroll-tax cut, added that it "plans to be in it."

"I mean, that’s part of the proposal," he added.

The administration is pushing to include a payroll-tax cut in the fifth coronavirus aid package. Trump publicly pitched the idea during a meeting at the White House on Monday with Mnuchin, Meadows, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report GOP's McCarthy has little incentive to work with Jan. 6 panel MORE (R-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell​​Democrats make voting rights push ahead of Senate consideration Hogan won't say if he will file to run for Senate by Feb. 22 deadline Voting rights, Trump's Big Lie, and Republicans' problem with minorities MORE (R-Ky.). 

"I think it's a very important thing. ...I think it's an incentive for companies to hire their workers back. ... A payroll-tax cut to me is very important," he told reporters. 

McCarthy told reporters after the meeting that the payroll-tax cut would be in the forthcoming GOP bill. Talk of including the payroll-tax cut in the Republican proposal is largely fluid, with a GOP bill not yet released.

ADVERTISEMENT

Republicans and the White House are still negotiating among themselves. Mnuchin and Meadows are set to brief the Republican conference during a closed-door Tuesday lunch. They will also meet again with a smaller group of GOP senators and have their first meeting with Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerKelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate race Hundreds attend mass funeral for victims of Bronx apartment building fire Romney: I never got a call from White House to discuss voting rights MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi suggests filibuster supporters 'dishonor' MLK's legacy on voting rights The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat GOP senator knocks Biden for 'spreading things that are untrue' in voting rights speech MORE (D-Calif.). 

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSinema scuttles hopes for filibuster reform How a nice-guy South Dakota senator fell into a Trump storm Democrats: Don't reject GOP offer to fix electoral count law MORE (R-S.D.) said that he personally doesn't support including the payroll-tax cut in the next coronavirus aid package, but floated that it could be in the initial version of the Republican bill. 

"I would say that it is a big priority, as you know, for the President. And so his advocates, Mnuchin and Meadows and others, I think will probably try and ensure that it's at least included in the first draft," Thune said, before laughing. "Let's put it that way." 

Asked if that meant it could come out later, Thune added that "there are a lot of Republicans who don't like it for a lot of different reasons." 

McConnell said the talk on Tuesday would be focused on seeing "if we can develop kind of a common approach to this on our side." He sidestepped a question about including the payroll-tax cut. 

Several GOP senators, including Thune, indicated earlier Monday that they did not think including the payroll-tax cut was a good idea.

"Go to the fact that Social Security people think we're raiding the Social Security fund. And we are raiding it, but we have always put in general fund revenue in it so it is made whole. But that creates — it might create political problems — but it creates a public relations problem," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleySenate antitrust bill has serious ramifications for consumers and small businesses Hillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two Senate Judiciary Committee to debate key antitrust bill MORE (R-Iowa) told reporters.