October 19, 2020

Van Hollen, Connolly Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Make Payroll Tax Deferral Optional, Including for Military Members and Federal Employees

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) have formally introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to make the payroll tax deferral outlined by President Trump optional for any worker whose employer chooses to participate, including federal employees and service members. The legislation, which Senator Van Hollen announced in early October, was introduced today by Senator Van Hollen and during Friday’s pro-forma House session by Representative Connolly. The text of the Preventing Employees from Surprise Taxes Act can be found here.    

“Day in and day out our military members and federal employees work to help the American people, but instead of supporting these public servants, President Trump is using them as pawns in his political payroll tax scheme. This cannot stand. Our men and women in uniform and federal employees should be able to make the financial decisions that work best for them rather than be forced to participate in Trump’s PR stunt against their will. That’s why I’m glad to lead this bipartisan push and will continue fighting to get this done,” said Senator Van Hollen.  

“I have heard from countless federal employees and service members concerned that they are going to be hit with a massive tax bill due to the Trump administration’s election year gimmick,” said Chairman Connolly.  “Our legislation will protect these public servants and give them a choice in participating in this program.”  

In addition to introducing this legislation, Senator Van Hollen has repeatedly pressed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought on this issue. During a recent Banking Committee hearing, in response to questioning from Senator Van Hollen, Mnuchin stated that it would be “reasonable” to allow federal employees and members of the military to choose whether or not to participate. In a letter sent on October 2, the Senator followed up with Mnuchin and Vought on these remarks. Senator Van Hollen also previously led a bipartisan letter, signed by over 20 Senators, to both Mnuchin and Vought in early September.

In the Senate, this legislation is cosponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).  

In the House the legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Don Beyer (D-Va.), Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), and Jim Costa (D-Calif.).  

The legislation is supported by a number of organizations, including: the American Federation of Government Employees, the National Treasury Employees Union, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, the National Federation of Federal Employees, the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund, the Senior Executives Association, the Federal Managers Association, the Professional Managers Association, National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys, United Power Trades Organization, Antilles Consolidated Education Association, National Weather Service Employees Organization, Patent Office Professional Association, National Association of Government Employees, National Education Association, Social Security Works, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Americans for Tax Fairness, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.   Statements of support from many of these organizations can be found here.