U.S. House Republicans are proposing legislation that if adopted by the Democrat-controlled body and GOP-run Senate would codify the payroll tax cut President Donald Trump granted through an executive order.
The version proposed by the GOP lawmakers would have more teeth than the executive order, essentially forcing employers to stop collecting the 6.2 percent workers’ share of the payroll tax rather than merely allowing them to do so. A congressionally-approved measure signed into law by a president also would presumably be more durable in the face of any legal challenge than a unilateral executive order would be.
A congressional mandate signed into law would protect employers from any future efforts by the government to collect taxes that were merely deferred by Trump’s executive order.
Under the proposed GOP legislation, the payroll tax would be reset at zero for the period of Sept. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020; self-employed workers would receive tax breaks comparable to employees whose companies pay half of the tax; the U.S. secretary of the treasury would inform employers of the tax holiday; the federal government’s general fund would offset any revenue lost to the Social Security system; and future retirees’ Social Security benefits would be unaffected by the tax holiday.
According to models disseminated by Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee, a two-income household making $120,000 would save $2,480 and a single worker making $55,000 would save $1,137.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the ranking Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, said in a prepared statement: “The essential workers who keep this country running through the pandemic deserve a pay raise. This bill forgives the payroll taxes deferred by President Trump to help working families, many of whom now rely on a single paycheck. I call on Congress, including Democrats who forgave these payroll taxes twice for President Obama, to act now to help our essential workers keep more of what they work so hard to earn. We’re not through this pandemic yet, and this will help local economies, create certainty for businesses, and safeguard Social Security.”