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White House doubles down on payroll-tax cut opposed by GOP senators

White House doubles down on payroll-tax cut opposed by GOP senators
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White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsTech industry pushes for delay in antitrust legislation Head of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report The Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters MORE told reporters Tuesday that President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE is committed to including a payroll-tax cut in the next coronavirus relief bill despite firm opposition from Senate Republicans.

Emerging from a meeting with Senate GOP negotiators, Meadows said Trump is holding firm on his demand that the new legislation cut payroll taxes for employees, after the CARES Act from late March allowed employers to defer parts of their 2020 payroll taxes for two years.

“The president is very committed to a payroll tax deduction,” Meadows said after meeting with Republicans in the Senate Appropriations Committee’s offices.

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Asked if Trump views the payroll-tax cut as a “red line,” Meadows responded: “I don’t think that in any negotiations that there are red lines but there are certainly high priorities and it will remain a very high priority for the president.”

Trump told Fox News’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceChuck Todd reluctant to 'ban' election deniers from 'Meet the Press' Sunday shows - Biden foreign policy in focus Pompeo defends Trump on Russia in Chris Wallace interview MORE in a recent interview that he would consider vetoing the coronavirus relief legislation if it doesn’t include a payroll tax holiday.

“I would consider not signing it if we don’t have a payroll-tax cut,” the president said.

Senate Republicans, however, remain opposed to the idea, though they’re not ruling it out completely.

“I’m not a fan of that, I’ve been very clear about that,” Senate Republican Whip John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneOn The Money: Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit | White House confident Congress will raise debt ceiling Psaki: Biden 'believes' Congress will lift debt limit despite spending battle Congress barrels toward debt cliff MORE (R-S.D.) told reporters Tuesday.

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“We’ll see what it looks like, but if it’s a choice between doing [stimulus] checks and a payroll-tax cut, I think it’s pretty clear that the checks have a more direct benefit to the economy," he added. "I think consumers are more likely to spend a check they get in the mail than some slight plus-up that they get — that probably automatically gets deposited in their bank account in the fourth quarter of this year.”

Other Republican lawmakers have also weighed in against the proposal.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyBiden's program for migrant children doesn't go far enough The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden support, gas tax questions remain on infrastructure 64 percent of Iowans say 'time for someone else' to hold Grassley's Senate seat: poll MORE (R-Iowa) told reporters Monday that a payroll-tax cut “creates a public relations problem” because “people think we’re raiding the Social Security fund.”

The CARES Act included a payroll tax holiday for employers that allows them to defer 50 percent of their tax obligation to 2021 and the other half to 2022.

It also created a refundable payroll-tax credit for certain wages that businesses pay their employees.

Senate Democrats said they were vehemently opposed to a payroll tax holiday being included in the CARES Act but they eventually accepted tax relief that was limited to employers.

Naomi Jagoda contributed.