White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday said President Donald Trump would not eliminate Social Security tax as part of a series of executive orders he signed one day ago.
The executive orders included measures to provide an extra $400 in weekly unemployment aid to those whose $600 weekly benefits expired in July as well as eviction protections and student loan relief, and a fourth executive order that would defer payroll tax payments for people who earn less than $100,000.
During a news conference announcing the orders at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., Trump said he would “terminate” the payroll tax, which funds Social Security and Medicare benefits if he is re-elected in November.
Kudlow on Sunday told CNN’s State of the Union that Trump would be able to protect the programs “and cut payroll taxes at the same time.”
Host Dana Bash challenged Kudlow’s response, saying Trump said “the opposite” but Kudlow maintained that the White House would protect Medicare and Social Security.
“I think he meant the deferral would be forgiven,” said Kudlow. “I think he was saying that the savings on the deferral will be permanent. He did not mean that he was eliminating the Social Security tax.”
Kudlow also said the payroll the deferral would give Americans “about a $1,200 wage increase after tax” over four months beginning in September.
While discussing the extended unemployment benefits, Kudlow said that states must provide 25% of the payments of up to $400 funds which may not be able to be paid through the CARES act passed in March as Congress has not approved those funds for this round of unemployment aid.
“We will be re-purposing funds from other areas,” he said. “Based on our estimates, the states will be able to provide the extra $100.”
Kudlow added that the executive order on evictions establishes a process that will allow the Department of Health and Human Services to designate areas with high levels of COVUD-19 spread to extend eviction protections.
“If HHS declares emergencies, then evictions will be stopped,” he said.
Congressional Democrats on Sunday condemned the executive orders as unconstitutional as they work to negotiate a deal that would extend eviction protections and continue $600 unemployment payments.
“The fact is, that whether they’re legal or not takes time to figure out. I associate my remarks with what the Senator [Ben] Sasse who says, they’re ‘unconstitutional slop.’ Right now we want to address the needs of the American people,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on State of the Union. “As my constitutional advisers tell me, they’re absurdly unconstitutional.”
Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer on Sunday said that Trump’s actions were “meager” but would not comment on the potential for legal challenges.
“I’ll leave that up to the attorneys, it doesn’t do the job,” he said of the measures. “It’s not going to go into effect in most places for weeks and months because it’s so put together in a crazy way.”
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