GOP leaders on Tuesday said they’d consider a debt relief program for people who have been pushed into default or hardship by the financial crisis, though they avoided specifying what specific programs would be eligible.
“It’s always hard to get a clear answer because I don’t know what the debt relief is,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga.
“The idea of a program to help people who are being pushed into bankruptcy by this situation is a good one.”
He added that Democrats should consider “re-imposing some of the existing debt relief laws” to address the crisis.
The Trump administration has said that it is reviewing whether to take up debt relief for the middle class and people who don’t qualify for other government programs, though it has not yet committed to such a program.
“I’m sure there’s people who would be in debt,” Price said.
“But if I’m President, I’m going to make sure that we are looking at ways to help these people.”
The administration has also signaled it may look to take the case of people who earn too much to qualify for some of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts, including those who earn more than $200,000.
Price said the White House was considering making some of these “discretionary” tax cuts available for those who make too much, while leaving others for those with incomes below $50,000 a year.
The GOP leaders did not explicitly call out Trump for using the tax cuts to help his own business empire, but the GOP leadership said the move would make Trump’s family business less attractive to potential investors.
The White House has also argued that if people in these categories qualify for relief from the government, it would help the economy, even if it means less revenue.
“What the president is trying to do is, by making it more difficult for people to get loans, more difficult to get credit, by allowing people to take on more debt,” the White, House said in an August letter to the Treasury Department.
“He wants to make the economy less competitive.”
The Trump Administration is currently reviewing a range of proposals to help those who don of qualify for a debt reduction program, but Price said that there would be “no doubt” that any program would have to go through a Senate confirmation process.
“That’s the president’s right.
If there’s a program that we can put into the debt reduction bill, we should do it,” Price told reporters.
“We should do that, but we should also have a process in place that’s clear and that allows for the president to put into a debt elimination program that people can actually afford to pay.”
Trump, who has previously said that the tax cut is “not a bailout,” has repeatedly praised his family’s business, and has pledged to increase its profits.
His administration has taken several steps to encourage businesses to stay in the United States.
Trump’s first Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, has pushed to create a “green” fund to be used for business tax cuts that would be fully refundable.
He has also pushed for companies to be required to pay $2,500 in payroll taxes on their profits each year, and for those companies to provide $3 million in tax credits to employees.