COVID-19 Stimulus: Mnuchin Wants a Check & Kudlow Wants Payroll Tax Cut

Getty U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks to the media while flanked by White House National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow in the briefing room at the White House on July 2, 2020, in Washington, D.C.

FOX Business’s Charles Gasparino said on Twitter on Thursday a “civil war” is raging over the next COVID-19 stimulus package, pitting U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin against White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow.

In a Fox Business video, Gasparino said, “Here’s what we know from within the White House. From what I understand there is a battle royale going on inside the White House about the next stimulus, and it pits Mnuchin against Larry Kudlow…”

He continued, “Kudlow believes in cutting taxes… and from what we understand, he and Mnuchin are at odds over the stimulus. Mnuchin wants to keep and extend unemployment insurance…”

While Kudlow and Mnuchin are both proponents of another stimulus package, it seems their opinions on the details of that package differ significantly.

Mnuchin Is in Favor of a Second Stimulus Check for Indvidiuals

Getty(L-R) Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. President Donald Trump attend briefing about the coronavirus outbreak in the press briefing room at the White House on March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC.

On July 13, Forbes reported that Mnuchin was in favor of a second stimulus payment, urging legislators that it would help spur the economy.

The outlet quoted Mnuchin as saying in a CNBC interview, “We do support another round of economic impact payments… The level and criteria we’ll be discussing with the Senate.”

Last week, Mnuchin suggested that it’s possible the Trump administration could pass a fourth relief package as early as July. In an interview with CNBC, he said, “I had a very productive call with [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell yesterday. As soon as the Senate gets back, we’re going to sit down on a bipartisan basis with the Republicans and the Democrats, and it will be our priority to make sure between the 20th and the end of the month that we pass the next legislation.”

Kudlow Recently Discussed a Payroll Tax Holiday

GettyLarry Kudlow

When Kudlow spoke to Fox Business last week about what would be included in the impending stimulus package, he suggested a payroll tax holiday of a 6.5% increase to after-tax wages for people going back to work, according to Forbes.

He also listed unemployment reforms, return-to-work type bonuses, extensions to paycheck protection program, targeted assistance from direct mail checks to individuals and families, and a capital gains tax holiday.

While Gasparino’s tweet suggested Mnuchin was the one in favor of individual checks, Forbes quoted Kudlow as saying, “We want a pro-growth package that will not only get us through this year… we want to go forward into 2021 and make it a big bang year.”

He continued, “I think it’s safe to say at this point all sides agree there will be a package.”

On July 16, The Washington Post stated that the White House is “insisting” on a payroll tax cut as part of the next coronavirus stimulus package.

In a statement, White House spokesman Judd Deere said, “As he has done since the beginning of this pandemic, President Trump wants to provide relief to hardworking Americans who have been impacted by this virus and one way of doing that is with a payroll tax holiday. He’s called on Congress to pass this before and he believes it must be part of any phase four package.”

The Senate returns from recess on July 20 and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that negotiations on the stimulus package will take place then.

Congress has between July 20 and their August recess, which begins on August 7, to approve a second stimulus package. Otherwise, negotiations will be delayed until September.

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