President Trump announced Monday evening that the White House will ask Congress to approve a “very substantial” payroll tax cut and relief for hourly workers to combat the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus.
“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 told reporters in the White House briefing room. “We’re also going to be talking about hourly wage earners getting help so that they can be in a position so they are not going to ever miss a paycheck.”
Trump said the White House is also working with the Small Business Administration and industries including airlines, cruise ship businesses and hotel owners, which are all grappling with economic hardship as demand from consumers slumps and travelers cancel plans.
“We are going to take care of and have been taking care of the American public and the American economy,” Trump said. “This was something that we were thrown into and we’re gonna handle it and we have been handling it very well.”
The president along with officials will meet with Senate Republicans on Tuesday to discuss the potential stimulus measures. After the meeting, President Trump said he will hold a press conference to detail the proposed economic package.
“I will be here tomorrow afternoon to let you know about some of the economic steps, which will be major,” Trump told reporters. “We’ll explain what we’re doing on an economic standpoint and from an economic standpoint but they will be very dramatic and we have a great economy. We have a very strong economy. But this has blindsided the world.”
The announcement comes as financial markets tumbled on Monday amid fear that about a widespread coronavirus outbreak will plunge the economy into recession. It was the worst day of trading on Wall Street since the global financial crisis in 2008. At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen more than 2,000 points, a 7.8 percent. The S&P 500 was down 7 percent and the Nasdaq was down 6.2 percent after the opening bell, triggering an automatic 15-minute break. It resumed after the break, but struggled to recover throughout the day and ended up finishing worse off than the day’s beginning.
Before the press conference, Trump met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Larry Kudlow and other aides to discuss a range of economic actions to stimulate the economy and avoid a recession.
The White House has invited Wall Street executives for a meeting this Wednesday on how to cope with the coronavirus threat.