White House says payroll tax cut for employees could come in ‘Phase 4’ coronavirus relief package

White House says payroll tax cut for employees could come in ‘Phase 4’ coronavirus relief package

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President Trump is hoping to include a payroll tax cut for employees as part of a Phase 4 stimulus relief package, as the Trump administration remains confident that a deal could be struck next week on a separate plan to replenish the Payment Protection Program, Fox News has learned.

A senior administration official told Fox News Friday that the president would like a payroll tax cut for employees—an expansion of what was rolled out in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act last month.


Under the current Phase 3 stimulus relief package, employers received a payroll tax cut, but the president is working to ensure that employees are covered by that tax cut in Phase 4 — especially as individuals become eligible to return to work.

Last month, the president called for an additional $2 trillion for Phase 4 of the coronavirus stimulus relief plan and said it should focus on infrastructure.

“With interest rates for the United States being at ZERO, this is the time to do our decades long awaited Infrastructure Bill,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country! Phase 4.”

Trump has sought a major infrastructure bill ever since taking office and would appear to be pitching that plan anew as a form of economic stimulus.

The president’s push for a fourth phase of the economic relief comes as lawmakers in both the House and Senate are already eyeing a fourth coronavirus relief bill, though some have voiced caution about continuing to appropriate such massive sums of money.

Meanwhile, an administration official also told Fox News that the White House is increasingly confident that a deal will be struck by the beginning of next week, with congressional Democrats on a plan to replenish the Small Business Administration’s Payment Protection Program, with an expected vote as early as Tuesday.


The deal, according to the official, is expected to include $250 billion for the PPP, an unknown amount for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and $75 billion for hospitals across the country.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., support helping small businesses, but have also been firm on the need for an “interim emergency” bill, which would contain changes to the small business relief program to help disadvantaged and minority-owned businesses, and would help hospitals and state governments. The potential hospital funding the White House cited Friday could get congressional Democrats on board.

“We’re willing to give them that money, but we also need the other money. … The question is of the Republicans: Why are you ignoring your state?” Pelosi told reporters this week.

“How can we ignore their pleas for help … when they are on the front line?” she added.

If they can strike an “interim” deal on the small business front, legislation could come to the floor “before the end of the month,” Pelosi said.

The potential deal comes as the Payment Protection Program, which helps businesses with under 500 employees obtain loans that can cover eight weeks of their payroll, benefits, rent and other expenses, ran out of funding.

The program was created as part of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that passed last month, and converts the small business loans to grants and would be fully forgiven if 75 percent of the loan is used to keep employees on the payroll.

The Trump administration on Thursday said that they cannot accept any more applications without congressionally authorized funding. All the $350 billion for the original PPP program under the CARES Act has been allocated through more than 1.6 million approved loans.

“The SBA is currently unable to accept new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program based on available appropriations funding,” the Small Business Administration said Thursday. “Similarly, we are unable to enroll new PPP lenders at this time.”

John Roberts currently serves as the chief White House correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined the network as a senior national correspondent in January 2011, based in the Atlanta bureau.

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