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White House mulls payroll tax cut to ease economic concerns: Reports

Thomas Barrabi

Top White House officials are considering a temporary payroll tax cut to boost the U.S. economy amid mounting concerns about a possible economic downturn, according to multiple reports on Monday.

Internal talks on a payroll tax cut are in their early stages Monday and are one of several potential measures under consideration, the Washington Post reported, citing three sources familiar with the matter. White House aides have yet to determine whether to push Congress for approval.

“As [National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow] said yesterday, more tax cuts for the American people are certainly on the table, but cutting payroll taxes is not something under consideration at this time,” the White House said in a statement.

While some Trump administration staffers have discussed a temporary payroll tax cut, talks have remained at the staff level and have yet to reach the Oval Office, Fox News chief White House Correspondent John Roberts and FOX Business correspondent Blake Burman reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Proceeds from the 6.2 percent payroll tax are used to fund Medicare and Social Security programs. The Obama administration briefly lowered the tax rate to 4.2 percent in 2011 to 2012 in an effort to boost consumer spending.

The Trump administration has expressed optimism about the strength of the U.S. economy amid signs of slowing growth and trade tensions with China. President Trump has repeatedly criticized Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and called on the central bank to cut interest rates.

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“Our economy is very strong, despite the horrendous lack of vision by Jay Powell and the Fed, but the Democrats are trying to ‘will’ the economy to be bad for purposes of the 2020 election,” President Trump wrote on Twitter. “Very selfish! Our dollar is so strong that it is sadly hurting other parts of the world…”

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