Amid a continued stalemate between Democratic and Republican lawmakers regarding the scope of the next coronavirus relief bill, President Donald Trump took executive action to extend aid to the American people.
The move was widely opposed by Democrats, of course, with House Minority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) declaring that “we can’t worry about giving a payroll tax to people who are working” despite prior support for such a proposal, as reported by Breitbart.
“Supposed to make the economy better”
In addition to a federal payroll tax holiday, Trump’s executive action addressed issues including student loan debt, federal evictions, and an extension of additional unemployment benefits at a reduced weekly rate.
Clyburn focused on the tax break during a revealing interview on Friday with Fox News Channel anchor Neil Cavuto, who took him to task for a seemingly hypocritical stance.
“Do you risk looking callous, that he’s — there he is with an offer to get that aid out to people right away, and you’re blocking it?” Cavuto asked.
As the Washington Examiner reported, Clyburn responded that he wished “we had done more to block that unheard-of tax cut that was supposed to make the economy better,” asserting that Trump’s prior cut did not achieve that goal.
Cavuto continued to push back, noting that earlier policies did appear to spur on the economy prior to the current coronavirus pandemic.
“Doesn’t do anything for you”
Clyburn dismissed those statistics, however, insisting instead that many of his constituents saw no real benefits from the largely booming pre-COVID economy.
Bringing the conversation back to the payroll tax cut, the host portrayed it as better than nothing, which is what a congressional impasse had produced.
“Come on,” the congressman said. “A payroll tax only affects people who are on payrolls. If you aren’t on a payroll, the payroll tax doesn’t do anything for you.”
Differentiating the current situation with the Great Recession of 2008, Clyburn advised that “we can’t worry about giving a payroll tax [break] to people who are working when you’ve got people in hospital beds.”
A leading Democrat is now on the record dismissing the president’s effort to deliver aid to struggling Americans. It is unclear how the party believes this will be a winning message with voters who will be able to decide the direction of the country on Election Day.