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Trump might not sign another stimulus bill without a payroll tax cut

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  • President Trump indicated in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace that he may not sign another coronavirus stimulus bill if it doesn’t include a payroll tax cut. 
  • The White House and congressional Republicans are reportedly considering new measures for a future bill as the $600 per week federal unemployment enhancement is set to expire at the end of this week. 
  • Trump said he’ll “have to see” but would “consider not signing it if we don’t have a payroll tax cut.” 
  • A payroll tax cut, however, would only benefit those who are currently employed, would help the highest earners the most, and wouldn’t do anything to help those out of work. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump indicated in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace that he may not sign another coronavirus stimulus bill if it doesn’t include a payroll tax cut. 

Currently, the White House and top Republicans in Congress are weighing what a future stimulus package could look like as the federal $600 per week extra unemployment benefit that Congress passed for several states as part of the CARES Act in April is set to run out in six days on July 25.

“The stimulus bill is running out at the end of this month. The Republicans say they want liability limits, which the Democrats don’t like, you say that you want a payroll tax cut, which even some Republicans are cool to. Will you only sign a bill with those two provisions?” Wallace asked. 

“We’re going to see, but we do need protections because businesses are going to get sued just because — you don’t know where this virus comes from, they’ll sit down at a restaurant, they’ll sue the restaurant, the guy’s out of business,” Trump said, referring to a federal provision that would shield businesses like restaurants from being sued by people who claimed to contract COVID-19 at those establishments. 

“So we do need some kind of immunity. Just like you need immunity for the police whether they like it or not, you need immunity for the police. But they do need a form of immunity,” he continued, accusing the Democrats of being controlled by the legal lobby. 

When Wallace pressed him on the payroll tax cut, Trump said he’ll “have to see” but would “consider not signing it if we don’t have a payroll tax cut, yes.” 

Trump has strongly pushed for a payroll tax cut throughout the pandemic, but such a move would only provide limited relief for those who still have jobs, would most benefit the highest earners who pay the most in taxes, and wouldn’t do anything to help the Americans who are out of work. The unemployment rate for June came in at 11.1% with the number of people who have permanently lost their jobs increasing. 

And as Wallace referenced, not all Republicans have been enthusiastic or on board with the idea of a payroll tax cut for previous rounds of stimulus negotiation. 

On Sunday, The Washington Post reported that in light of the enhanced $600 per week federal unemployment benefits poised to run out in less than a week, the White House and top Senate Republicans are considering measures including extending a smaller-scale weekly federal enhanced unemployment benefit of $200 or $400 per week or means-testing future federal unemployment benefits.

While Republicans are trying to limit the size and extent of a future stimulus package as much as possible, some experts told the Post that means-testing a future federal unemployment benefit could pose even more administrative burdens on already-overworked and overwhelmed state employment agencies, many of which are struggling to process claims as is and leaving millions waiting for benefits

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