The White House on Thursday emphasized that President Trump thinks a payroll tax cut is a must-have in the next coronavirus relief package.
"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. "He’s called on Congress to pass this before and he believes it must be part of any phase four package."
Work on the next coronavirus relief package is expected to heat up next week, when lawmakers return to Washington following a recess.
Trump has been pushing for a payroll tax cut for months. In a Fox News virtual town hall in May, the president said that he had told Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that "we’re not doing anything unless we get a payroll tax cut."
But a payroll tax holiday has not been a top priority for lawmakers on either side of the aisle. Democrats have been opposed to such a move, and some Republicans have also been cool to the idea.
A spokesperson for Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Thursday that "a number of tax relief proposals will be part of the discussion" among lawmakers and the administration.
The top Democrat on the panel, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said that "a payroll tax cut would do nothing to help the 20 million workers who have lost their jobs, and little for those working significantly reduced hours."
He said that a better course of action would be to extend the enhanced unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of the month.