President Trump on Tuesday confirmed that he is considering whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut amid mounting concerns about an economic slowdown. Trump’s comments pulled back the curtain on a freewheeling policy process within the White House. Senior administration officials are both trying to assess the real weaknesses in the economy while also determining whether they should take any steps to intervene before the 2020 elections.
The U.S. government could run out of money to pay all of its bills by early September if Congress doesn’t rush to raise the debt ceiling, a think tank said Monday, a time frame that could force lawmakers to act much sooner than planned. The Bipartisan Policy Center said that the Treasury Department could breach the borrowing limit in two months because the government has brought in far less tax revenue this year than was projected.
President Trump forged ahead Friday with plans to impose import penalties on Mexico, one of the United States’ largest trading partners, brushing aside apoplectic lawmakers, business groups and investors who feared the White House was expanding trade wars without any plan for eventual escape.
President Trump has asked internal and external advisers about whether he can fire Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell, two people familiar with the exchanges said, in a sign of his mounting frustration with the central bank chief. News of Trump’s discussions about Powell prompted rebukes from lawmakers and alarm among economists and Wall Street executives Saturday
The Treasury Department last week reversed itself after lobbying by Nevada Republicans and agreed to let a previously ineligible county reap huge benefits from the new tax law. Treasury officials had initially deemed that Storey County’s income levels were too high to qualify, based on the metrics they had used to judge every other nomination for the special tax status. But after weeks of prodding from Nevada officials, Treasury relented and gave the designation to Storey County using new data.
Trump’s comments, made just hours before he arrived in Canada for the annual G-7 summit, have further scrambled talks with other leaders, most of whom were already fuming about the U.S. leader’s protectionist trade policies. But in a sign that European unity against Trump is cracking, new Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he agreed with Trump and wanted Russia back in the fold.
“Let’s be honest about what this is: President Trump and Republicans in Congress are looking to tear apart the bipartisan [CHIP], hurting middle-class families and low-income children, to appease the most conservative special interests and feel better about blowing up the deficit to give the wealthiest few and biggest corporations huge tax breaks,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday.
President Trump ordered his chief trade negotiator to consider imposing tariffs on an additional $100 billion of Chinese products Thursday, in a dramatic escalation of his trade war with China. In the latest barb, China’s commerce ministry said that “China has very detailed countermeasures” and will “fight at any cost” to defend its economic interests, drawing the world’s two largest economies into a deeper confrontation.
Republican lawmakers in 2011 brought the U.S. government to the brink of default, refused to raise the debt ceiling, demanded huge spending cuts, and insisted on a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. On Wednesday, they formally broke free from those fiscal principles and announced a plan that would add $500 billion in new spending over two years and suspend the debt ceiling until 2019.
Refusing to sweat the details made the Republican difficult to attack, but it’s making it hard for him to govern. “It’s the chickens coming home to roost,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former Congressional Budget Office director who advised Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during his 2008 presidential run. “This operating style I don’t think serves the process very well, and I think he got trapped into it by not being specific enough on the campaign.”
President Trump’s first major budget proposal on Tuesday will include massive cuts to Medicaid and call for changes to anti-poverty programs that would give states new power to limit a range of benefits, people familiar with the planning said, despite growing unease in Congress about cutting the safety net.