Update (1215ET): President Trump has weighed in after conceding the payroll tax cut issue, arguing in a Thursday tweet that Democratic opposition to the idea drove GOP lawmakers to abandon it.
"The Democrats have stated strongly that they won’t approve a Payroll Tax Cut (too bad!). It would be great for workers," Trump tweeted, adding "The Republicans, therefore, didn’t want to ask for it. Dems, as usual, are hurting the working men and women of our Country!"
The Democrats have stated strongly that they won’t approve a Payroll Tax Cut (too bad!). It would be great for workers. The Republicans, therefore, didn’t want to ask for it. Dems, as usual, are hurting the working men and women of our Country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2020
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Update (1200ET): White House adviser Stephen Moore tells the Washington Post's Jeff Stein that he's "very discouraged" that the GOP bill includes $1,200 stimulus payments but no payroll tax cut.
"There is no benefit from dumping money from helicopters into people's laps ... If this works, why not send every family $10,000?" said Moore, adding "Trump needs to put this back in or he's going to lose a lot of Republicans on a negotiating deal -- it could divide and conquer the party."
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With scant support among Senate Republicans, the White House has agreed to nix a payroll tax cut which President Trump had previously insisted on for the next round of coronavirus relief.
"It won't be in the base bill," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during a Thursday interview with CNBC, while noting that it might be included in future pandemic relief legislation. Mnuchin added that the White House and Senate GOP now have a 'fundamental agreement.'
Mr. Mnuchin said the president preferred that the legislation include direct payments to the public, arguing that such a measure offers more immediate benefits to people struggling as a result of the economic fallout from the pandemic.
“He wants to get money into people’s pockets now because we need to reopen the economy,” Mr. Mnuchin said, referring to the president. “One of the issues I think you know about the payroll tax cut is people get that money over time. So, the president’s preference is to make sure that we send out direct payments quickly.” -WSJ
After months of arguing in favor of the payroll tax cut, Trump began to signal that he was willing to drop the issue earlier this week, saying "We’re talking about a lot of things, not just the payroll-tax cut."
According to the Journal, "Economists and lawmakers in both parties were skeptical about a payroll tax cut, saying it would be inefficient at this moment because it isn’t targeted at the problems in the labor market. They said it wouldn’t provide a large enough incentive for hiring and retaining workers and that it would do little for those who aren’t working."