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Trump's Payroll Tax Cut Rebuffed By Dems, Rep. Neal Says

By Joshua Rosenberg · 2020-03-10 19:02:32 -0400

A payroll tax cut suggested by President Donald Trump to address potential economic fallout from the new coronavirus is unlikely to pass the House, Democratic House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said Tuesday.

President Donald Trump has proposed a payroll tax cut to help stimulate the economy after possible fallout from COVID-19. (AP)

Neal, D-Mass., said that while his caucus in the House of Representatives is working with the Trump administration to craft a stimulus package, he would not be willing to include a payroll tax cut as part of that legislation.

"At the moment, [a payroll tax cut] is not on the table for us," Neal told reporters while en route to a meeting to discuss a stimulus package.

Trump told reporters earlier Tuesday that he discussed with Senate Republicans the idea of implementing the payroll tax cut.

"There's a great feeling about doing a lot of things, and [a payroll tax cut] is one of the things that we talked about," Trump said.

But Democratic lawmakers, such as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., were quick to criticize the policy proposal as ill-suited to meet the country's needs.

"It advantages the richer people and it disadvantages the poorer people," he said. "If you don't have a job, it disadvantages you altogether — you get zero."

That sentiment was echoed by Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Tuesday.

"A payroll tax cut can be an effective tool, but it's not the best answer in this case," Wyden said in a statement. "A payroll tax cut would do little to help workers without paid sick days or those who have lost shifts and tips."

However, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wasn't ready to take the idea of a payroll tax cut off the table, his spokesman said Monday.

"Chairman Grassley is exploring the possibility of targeted tax relief measures that could provide a timely and effective response to the coronavirus," his spokesman, Michael Zona said.

At any rate, Democrats hope to have a framework in place for the stimulus package by this week, Neal said.

But that doesn't mean legislation will be ready that quickly, Hoyer said.

"I don't know that we'll have legislation this week," he said. "Things have to be scored, they have to be reviewed."

--Editing by Neil Cohen.

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