Republicans on Capitol Hill are becoming frustrated with Democratic attempts to block legislation to reform the IRS with funding cuts and other punitive measures. Republicans insist that the IRS should be “punished,” while Democrats fear a new precedent that could lead to budget cuts in other agencies.
“There’s fear that [the IRS scandal] is becoming politicized,” a Republican insider on Capitol Hill told The Daily Caller. “There’s hope that at least one of the House investigations will go somewhere, but there’s still doubt” that Democrats will manage to block IRS-related legislation.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told fellow Republicans this week that he will bring an entire slate of IRS-related bills to a floor vote before the August recess, including a bill to allow citizens to record their conversations with IRS agents and a bill to block the IRS’ scheduled 2014 enforcement of Obamacare.
The legislative package will “give Republican members the ability to address the growing distrust of Washington emanating from recent scandals and stories, especially in the case of the IRS,” according to a Cantor aide.
But fierce partisan politics is already jeopardizing GOP proposals.
A spending bill to cut IRS funding by approximately $3 billion, or 24 percent of the agency’s budget, passed a subcommittee of the Republican-controlled House Appropriations Committee Wednesday despite Democratic objections. The bill would set the IRS budget at $9 billion for fiscal year 2014, a nearly $3 billion cut from fiscal year 2013 and the agency’s smallest budget since 2001. The bill would also cut the IRS’ enforcement funds by 10 percent until the agency implements reforms suggested by Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George’s report on the IRS scandal, and would set strict limits on the agency’s productions of taxpayer-funded videos and hosting of conferences, and on employee bonuses.
“Taxpayer-funded bonuses are not an employee ‘right,'” Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey told TheDC. “If you’re under investigation, you shouldn’t receive a bonus. This is common sense.“
“The IRS has not only wasted money hosting lavish conferences costing millions of dollars, but it has improperly targeted certain political groups. This disregard for the taxpayer’s money cannot be tolerated,” Republican Rep. Dennis Ross told TheDC.
“It won’t pass the Senate,” the Republican insider told TheDC. “But if it passes the House, it will send a wake-up call.”