Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was asked by The Daily Caller if he thinks the roughly 100,000 federal employees who owe a combined $1.03 billion in federal taxes should be fired if they are not paying down their tax debt.
“Well, I think it’s certainly something we should take a look at, but, you know, there — I guess there could be a reason. I haven’t been part of any hearings, if in fact hearings were held,” Reid told TheDC during a media availability at the Capitol on Tuesday.
“But I would assume, just to have a carte blanche to fire everybody, someone could have had a death in the family, someone that’s really sick. So I think we have to be careful in throwing these blanket restrictions on people.”
The total dollar amount of taxes owed by federal employees is $3.4 billion if retirees and military personal are included (almost 280,000 workers), according the most recent IRS data available.
The GOP-controlled House is expected to vote Tuesday on H.R. 828, which says that “any person who has a seriously delinquent tax debt” would be “ineligible to be appointed or to continue serving as an employee.”
The legislation gives the individuals 180 days to demonstrate that they are paying off the debt.
Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn has sponsored the bill in the Democrat-controlled Senate.