House approves IRS budget cuts

The House late Monday night adopted proposals by voice vote to cut funding for the Internal Revenue Service.

Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-Ariz.) amendment to the fiscal 2015 Financial Services appropriations bill would cut funding for the IRS by $353 million. Specifically, Gosar's amendment would cut that funding from the IRS enforcement account and use it toward deficit reduction.

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Gosar argued that funding for the IRS would be better used toward reducing the deficit than toward the agency caught in GOP crosshairs.

"This is a modest reduction at best," Gosar said.

But, he said, "More directly than financial or condition of the country is the fact that this agency has shown contempt for the American taxpayer."

Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations financial services subcommittee, said slashing IRS funding would be counterproductive and result in weakened tax enforcement. He noted that the $10.95 billion allocation for the IRS would be a $341 million cut from fiscal 2014.

"This will prevent the IRS from going after tax cheats," Serrano said.

As with other appropriations bills, the Financial Services measure is being considered under an open rule that allows members to offer an unlimited number of amendments with 10 minutes of debate each. Consideration of the contentious Financial Services appropriations bill is expected to last through Wednesday.

Serrano appeared resigned to the fact that members would offer a multitude of amendments to cut the IRS budget, and let Gosar's amendment pass on a voice vote.

An amendment offered by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) to cut the IRS budget by another $2 million was also adopted by a voice vote.

"The good news is that the whole bill is not on the IRS, so eventually, we'll move on to something else," Serrano said.

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