Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office Wednesday asking the agency to conduct an expedited review of President’s Trump’s payroll-tax deferral, under the Congressional Review Act. The act allows Congress to overturn recently issued rules produced by federal agencies.
Under Trump’s executive order, the Treasury Department would let employers defer withholding and payment of employees’ Social Security payroll taxes. The Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance last week that employers can opt to stop withholding Social Security payroll taxes from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 for workers making under $4,000 biweekly. Employers would then collect the deferred taxes by increasing the amount of payroll taxes withheld from their employees’ paychecks from Jan. 1 through April 30.
The payroll-tax deferral has drawn criticism from Democratic lawmakers and several business groups, as it would result in employees receiving smaller than usual paychecks at the start of next year. Many in the senior living industry fear the move — albeit temporary — could be a first step toward essentially defunding Social Security for good. This would be devastating to seniors nationwide, said Chris Orestis, president of the financial services agency LifeCare Xchange.
“Ending the payroll tax is an existential threat the existence of Social Security and Medicare, threatening the lives of millions of America’s seniors and their families who could end up financially responsible for them,” Orestis told McKnight’s Senior Living. “Although these programs don’t fund long-term care services, their elimination would have ripple effects across the entire economy and disrupt the ability of seniors to access healthcare and long-term care supports and services.”