Americans are eagerly awaiting a second stimulus check while lawmakers hammer out the new coronavirus relief bill, and we now know that the GOP-supported stimulus package proposal will not include a payroll tax cut. This certainly comes as a slight surprise, considering that for some time President Donald Trump has been actively voicing support for the measure. According to CNN, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin confirmed the news, saying that the President's "priority for the moment is to get money into Americans quickly and one of the problems with the payroll tax cut is it takes time."
Mnuchin later added that, while payroll tax cuts will not be included in this stimulus bill, he and the Trump administration plan to "to come back again" with a possible "CARES 5.0." This could imply ongoing negotiations to reach a finalized second bill, or it could be indicative of conversations leading to a third stimulus bill. This is unconfirmed, and it should be noted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that there would be no third bill under his leadership. Furthermore, CNN notes that the majority of Democrat leaders are not in favor of payroll tax cuts, and the number of Republican leaders who oppose the move is growing as well.
Payroll taxes, which have become a hot button issue surrounding the stimulus plans, include Social Security and Medicare from employees, as well as from employers. The purpose behind payroll tax cuts is to take less money from workers, as well as employers. However, many argue that it would actually be detrimental to the social security program. "Trump's proposed payroll tax cut would do nothing for the 30 million who lost jobs during the pandemic while taking money away from Social Security," Senator Bernie Sanders previously said of the plan. "Instead, we must extend unemployment benefits, provide $2,000 a month to every working-class American, and expand Medicare to all."
Senator Kamala Harris added, "If Trump and Republicans succeed, this would be a gut-punch for unemployed Americans. A payroll tax cut doesn’t help those who aren’t on a payroll, and slashed unemployment benefits won’t help people get back on their feet. This should be a nonstarter." At this time, President Trump does not appear to have commented on the payroll tax cut news.