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Trump to Propose Payroll-Tax Cut to Combat Coronavirus Economic Damage

President Donald Trump looks on during the daily Coronavirus-related briefing at the White House in Washington, March 9, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

President Trump will ask Congress on Monday to consider a payroll tax cut and will propose several other financial relief measures as part of the effort to combat the economic fallout from the spread of the coronavirus.

Trump will meet with GOP congressmen and senators to discuss “a possible tax-relief measure” to buoy the economy amid the epidemic.

“We are to be meeting with House Republicans, Mitch McConnell, and discussing a possible payroll tax cut or relief, substantial relief, very substantial relief,” Trump said at a press briefing at the White House alongside members of the coronavirus task force. “This was something that we were thrown into and we’re going to handle it, and we have been handling it.”

Trump also said he plans to discuss “getting help” for hourly wage earners “so they can be in a position where they’re not going to miss a paycheck.” The president added that the White House is also working with the cruise and airline industries, which have been hit particularly hard as Americans cut down on travel amid the epidemic.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow are also scheduled to meet with Republican lawmakers Monday to mull the financial measures. Kudlow has declined to back a payroll-tax cut in the past and last week called for more-specific relief measures targeting sectors that have been particularly affected by the coronavirus.

Trump continued to tout the economy despite the stock market experiencing its worst day since the 2008 financial crisis, plummeting more than 2,000 points after trading was stopped for several minutes and an oil war broke out over the weekend.

“We have a very strong economy,” the president insisted, “but this has blindsided the world.”

The additional financial relief measures come after Trump on Friday signed an $8.3 billion emergency spending bill to combat the coronavirus.

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