US President Donald Trump takes part in a meeting with Romania's President Klaus Iohannis(not shown) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on August 20, 2019.Mandal Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he was "thinking about" cutting payroll taxes, less than a day after the White House denied that a payroll tax cut was under consideration.
"Payroll tax is something we think about, and a lot of people would like to see that, and that very much affects the workers of our country," Trump told reporters at the White House.
Trump went on to say that he has "been thinking about payroll taxes for a long time" — and he cautioned that "whether or not we do something now, it's not being done because of recession."
His remarks were at odds with a White House official's statement to CNBC on Monday evening: "More tax cuts for the American people are certainly on the table, but cutting payroll taxes is not something under consideration at this time."
That denial came in response to The Washington Post's report that White House officials have been floating a payroll tax cut as a way to head off a possible economic slowdown.
When asked about the discrepancy between the official's statement and the president's remarks, a White House representative declined to comment.
The president has pushed back strongly on reports that investors fear an economic recession may be on the horizon. In a tweet Monday, he accused Democrats of "trying to 'will' the Economy to be bad for purposes of the 2020 Election."
In the Oval Office on Tuesday afternoon, Trump said, "I think the word recession is a word that's inappropriate because it's just a word that certain people, I'm going to be kind, certain people and the media are trying to build up because they would love to see a recession. We are very far from a recession."
But in his nearly 30-minute exchange with the press, ahead of a meeting with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Trump floated a number of possible ways to stimulate the economy. He slammed the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates and called for a full percentage-point cut in rates "over a period of time."
He also discussed multiple proposals to reduce taxes, including a payroll tax cut and indexing capital-gains taxes to inflation.
"I'm not talking about doing anything at this moment, but indexing is something a lot of people have liked for a long time," Trump said. "It is something I'm thinking about."
If Trump attempts to pass a payroll tax cut through Congress, he's almost certain to face strong opposition from Democrats. The 6.2% tax helps to fund social welfare programs that Democrats have vowed to protect.
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