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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump abandoned his stance on considering a payroll tax cut Wednesday, just 1 day after telling reporters that he had been "thinking about" whether to pursue the move.

The big picture: Discussions over cutting the payroll tax, which currently sits at 6.2% and is used to fund Social Security and Medicare, are part of a broader White House effort to stem fears of a coming recession — though Trump insisted to reporters that "whether or not we do it now, it's not being done because of recession." Sources tell Axios' Jonathan Swan that Trump is "running out of tools" to juice the economy, with an economic slowdown looking increasingly likely ahead of the 2020 election.

Context:

  • On Monday, Trump tweeted that the Federal Reserve should cut interest rates by "at least 100 basis points" — a drastic measure that the Fed normally uses to stimulate the economy in a recession.
  • The inversion of the yield curve, a warning sign that has preceded every recession for the past 70 years, caused a major sell-off in the stock market last week. The market has since recovered completely, but prolonged trade tensions between the U.S. and China have caused many investors to remain skittish.
  • The White House previously denied an Aug. 19 Washington Post report that cutting payroll taxes was under consideration, before Trump stated in an Oval Office pool spray that he was, in fact, "thinking about it."

Go deeper: Trump economic advisers look to do damage control amid fears of recession

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Political consultants pocket taxpayer cash

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Members of Congress are turning to the same political consultants who got them elected to blast out taxpayer-funded communications from their government offices, records show.

Why it matters: While those members are barred from politicking with official funds, the firms have expertise in boosting elected officials' images for political gain and are in high demand for both campaign and government work.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Transplants rebound from COVID lull
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America
  3. Politics: Government website for free COVID tests launches early
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older
  5. Variant tracker
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Schumer pushes for doomed filibuster changes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer addresses reporters Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told the Democratic caucus Tuesday night he plans to propose instituting a one-time "talking" filibuster requirement, and bypassing the 60-vote threshold for major legislation, to pass the party's election reforms package via simple majority.

Why it matters: While Schumer acknowledged both votes are expected to fail — and some vulnerable Democrats up for re-election feel it will put them in a tough spot — he argued it's worth putting members on the record for historic legislation.