A majority of Republicans in the House of Representatives passed legislation Monday night to reclaim $72 billion from the Internal Revenue Service, making good on a promise to voters to “repeal 87,000 IRS officials.”
It was a party line vote of 221 to 210, with one Republican and two Democrats not voting.
“Promises made,” said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as he banged the gavel and cheered Republicans in the House of Representatives.
The law, called the Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act, would take away all but $8 billion of the $80 billion passed in the Inflation Reduction Act to bolster the ranks of the IRS.
In a party-line vote Monday night, House Republicans passed legislation that would remove $72 billion in funding for the Internal Revenue Service, which Democrats passed last year as part of the Inflation Reduction Act
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, entering his ceremonial speaker’s office Monday, had promised to make the IRS legislation the first that House Republicans would pass if they recaptured the House in the 2022 midterm elections
The bill will be dead by the time it arrives in the US Senate, which is still controlled by Democrats — 51 to 48 — since Republican Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska became president of the University of Florida on Monday.
Even if 12 Senate Democrats voted alongside Republicans to overrule a filibuster threat, the legislation would be quashed by President Joe Biden’s veto pen.
The Biden White House called it a “reckless bill” demonstrating that House Republicans’ “top economic priority is to allow the rich and billionaire corporations to skip their taxes while making life harder for ordinary middle-class families.” will pay the taxes they owe.’
“To be clear, the Secretary of the Treasury has already ordered that none of the additional IRS resources be used to increase audit rates for small businesses or households with incomes below $400,000 from historical levels,” the statement reads a statement from the Office of Management and Budget.
While the number of audits may increase among middle-income individuals, it will increase in line with the rate of audits among high-income individuals, according to Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen said in a statement to IRS chief Charles Rettig in August.
Now, during the 2022 midterm campaign, House Speaker McCarthy pledged to return money spent on strengthening tax enforcement at the IRS if Republicans win back the House.
“Our job is to work for you, not come after you,” McCarthy said while presenting the Republicans’ “Commitment to America” outside of Pittsburgh in September.
McCarthy reiterated that promise during his speech when he won the speakership in the early hours of Saturday morning.
“Our first bill will eliminate funding for 87,000 new IRS agents. Because the government should be here to help you not come after you,” he said in his victory speech.
The 87,000 figure comes from a Treasury Department estimate of how many IRS employees the $80 billion could hire over 10 years — not actual legislation — but Republicans used the number to show opposition to that to drum the Inflation Reduction Act.
The Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act was proposed by MPs Adrian Smith and Michelle Steel.
Smith of Nebraska had attempted to chair the powerful Ways and Means tax committee, but was beaten for the top spot by Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri.
The bill leaves funding for customer service improvements and technology updates, but removes funding for new audits.
Of the $80 billion, only $3.2 billion — or four percent — went to improving taxpayer service.
“The last thing the American people need right now is more scrutiny from a runaway, bloated IRS,” Smith said in a statement ahead of the vote.
“The government’s $45 billion plan to hire 87,000 new IRS officers and target Americans with a barrage of scrutiny was absurd from the start, especially as families and small business owners struggle amid skyrocketing prices driven by reckless government spending,” Steel added in a statement.
The new audits should offset about $739 billion in mostly climate and social spending.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the GOP-approved bill would add about $114 billion to the deficit.