Details of the next coronavirus relief package are slowly being unveiled as members of Congress continue negotiations on Capitol Hill. Set to be unveiled by Senate Republicans Thursday, the legislation will not include a payroll tax cut, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, something that has long been a key demand of President Donald Trump. With the payroll tax cut now out in favor of the second round of stimulus checks, something likely to be agreed upon by Democrats, will the president sign the legislation?
As the need for an additional stimulus package became clear, and as congressional leaders began lending out proposals and stating what they believed must be included in any further legislation, the president's viewpoint became clear: a payroll tax cut was a necessity. Payroll taxes include Social Security and Medicare from employees, as well as from employers. A payroll tax cut, therefore, would reduce the amount taken out of workers' paychecks to fund those federal programs. Currently, workers pay about 7.65 percent of their wage and salary incomes, with employers matching the amount.
"As he has done since the beginning of this pandemic, President Trump wants to provide relief to hardworking Americans who have been impacted by this virus and one way of doing that is with a payroll tax holiday," White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement just last week, The Hill reported. "He's called on Congress to pass this before and he believes it must be part of any phase four package."
The president's stance grew even stronger over the weekend, when told Fox News' Chris Wallace that he would "consider not signing" a stimulus package that did not include a payroll tax cut. During remarks in the Oval Office on Monday, he added that a payroll tax cut was "very important."
The president, however, may have softened his stance, if Mnuchin's remarks are anything to go by. Confirming that the tax cut would not be included in the package, Mnuchin said that "the president's focus is he wants to get money into people's pockets now because we need to reopen the economy," suggesting that Trump would be willing to sign the proposal regardless of the exclusion of the tax cut. He added that Trump prefers to "send out direct payments quickly so that in August people get more money."
That does not, however, mean that a payroll tax cut is completely out of the picture. Although he may be willing to sign the legislation into law in order to more speedily aid the American people, Mnuchin said that the president still has his eyes on a tax cut and may pursue another piece of legislation. According to CNN, Mnuchin said that the Trump administration is "going to come back again" and that there "may be a CARES 5.0."