Republicans Ditch Payroll Tax Cut in Stimulus Bill
Senate Republicans are expected to release their coronavirus relief bill, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday morning that a payroll tax cut will not be part of it.
The cut was a point of contention between GOP senators and the White House in recent weeks. NBC News reported Wednesday night that senators and White House negotiators Mnuchin and Chie of Staff Mark Meadows had reached what they called a "fundamental agreement".
NBC News, reports, the GOP proposal will not be a single bill, but a handful of appropriation and authorization bills. It's not yet clear what freed up funds would go toward, but some funds could go to federal COVID-19 testing for schools, day cares, nursing homes, and senior centers.
USA Today reports that the Senate GOP bill would include $1,200 stimulus checks for Americans additional funding for schools.
President Donald Trump had requested a payroll tax cut, but Forbes reports that such a cut will not be a part of any GOP legislation. The reasoning behind the proposed cuts was that they might increase take-home pay and incentivize hiring. Lawmakers argued that people currently out of work would not benefit from those cuts, and that they would divert funding from Social Security and Medicare.
The current federal relief is set to expire at the end of this month. Under that legislation, many Americans currently out of work were receiving an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits. Democrats want to extend the current benefits.
Forbes reports that the GOP may be seeking to decrease the benefit amount, though it's not yet clear by how much. Some leaders have suggested it would be less than $200, while others have implied it might be around $420. They argue that some Americans were making more while unemployed than they had while working, which has been a disincentive for them to return to the workforce.
What do you think about the GOP's decision to exclude a payroll tax cut? Do you think the existing unemployment benefits should be extended, or is it time to decrease the amount being paid? Let us know in the comments.