House Republicans, in their first economic legislation as the House majority, opted to rescind a significant part of the allocation of nearly $80 billion in funding to the IRS. On Monday, the GOP lawmakers voted to slash $71 billion of the funding set aside in the Inflation Reduction Act after it was passed last summer under a Democratic-controlled Congress.
🚨 House Republicans just voted unanimously to repeal the Democrats' army of 87,000 IRS agents 🚨
This was our very first act of the new Congress, because government should work for you, not against you.
Promises made. Promises kept.
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) January 10, 2023
The bill, known as the Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act, passed the House of Representatives by 221-210. Sponsored by Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) and Rep. Michelle Steele (R-CA), the legislation is a fulfillment of House Republicans’ campaign pledge to hold the Biden administration responsible.
But while the cancellation of funds might have been passed in Congress, the Democratic majority in the Senate might not let it get further. Even if it manages to get past the Senate, Biden has promised to veto the bill when it gets to his desk.
The Inflation Reduction Act, poised to considerably increase the IRS workforce, set aside approximately $80 billion for the agency. This is in addition to the money the IRS gets annually through the appropriations process. With the allocation poised to fill 87,000 positions, the IRS would be larger than the Pentagon, the FBI, State Department, and Border Patrol combined.
Supporters of the inflation reduction bill posited that a stronger IRS workforce and other operational improvements would lead to better audits and scrutiny to adequately target corporate and high net-worth tax dodgers. To GOP lawmakers, the so-called Inflation Reduction Act is only a ploy to fund other Democratic priorities.
Republicans’ opposition to the billion-dollar funding is premised on the fear that the allocation will empower the IRS to go after middle-income Americans in a bid to “raise money for… reckless spending that has caused $31 trillion in debt in this nation,” as posited by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC).
Biden lied: Tax hikes from Inflation Reduction Act will hit families making less than $400k/year https://t.co/HmcvX5pBGe
— TheLeoTerrell (@TheLeoTerrell) January 2, 2023
Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) stated that the idea of more funding for the IRS is not necessary. “The IRS does not need a raise – it needs a reckoning,” the recently elected chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee said.
The Republican legislation does not affect funding for customer service, and improvements to IT services as GOP lawmakers do not classify those as funding that would double the agency’s size and be used to conduct new audits on Americans.
The Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act came right after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was finally elected as Speaker. Shortly after his victory, McCarthy, who pledged to prioritize defunding the I.R.S. during his campaign, reiterated his campaign promise saying, “The government should be here to help you, not go after you.”
The coming days and weeks will see GOP lawmakers increasingly move on their legislative proposals.