As Senate Democratic leaders scramble to vote on President Joe Biden's sweeping social spending bill before Christmas, Republican senators are painting the bill as a recipe for a “supersized” IRS.
In remarks at a press conference Tuesday, Republican senators argued the Build Back Better Act would grant $80 billion in mandatory funding to the IRS and provide an estimated 87,000 new IRS agents.
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“This supersized IRS will create an army of auditors,” said Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo.
The Republicans also took aim at a now-removed proposal in the bill that would have lowered the tax reporting threshold for bank account inflows and outflows to $600. The proposal drew outrage, and Senate leaders later settled on $10,000 a year.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley pointed to the initial proposal as evidence it would create a more intrusive IRS, saying his office received 11,000 emails “against [the] IRS having that increased authority and power.”
“We still have to be very fearful of the additional money going to the IRS,” Grassley said.
The White House has argued the funds are necessary for hiring enforcement agents trained to pursue wealthy tax evaders, modernizing outdated IRS technology, and providing additional taxpayer service.
But Republicans argued the new auditors wouldn’t modernize the IRS and that the resources would be better used on taxpayer services, which they said would help those seeking to comply with their tax requirements.
“If you’re fortunate enough for them to answer the phone, it’s not uncommon at all to be put on hold for an extended period of time,” said Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas. “They actually have this thing where after about 45 minutes, they have what they call a courtesy disconnect, where they hang up on you because they’re trying to preserve your time.”
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Republicans seek to highlight areas of objection that may sway West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat whose support of the bill is necessary for its passage in the Senate. Manchin has objected to portions of the bill and has not yet committed to back the legislation.