House votes to block bonuses at the IRS

The House on Wednesday approved legislation that would prohibit performance bonuses for senior executives at the Internal Revenue Service.

Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-Ariz.) amendment to the fiscal 2015 Financial Services appropriations bill was approved on a 282-138 vote, with one member voting present.

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Gosar argued senior officials at the IRS should not be eligible for performance awards in light of the ongoing controversy over the agency's scrutiny of conservative nonprofits applying for tax-exempt status.

"The IRS is responsible for administering tax laws fairly and justly. They have failed at that responsibility, and they now must be held accountable. Senior management should never have let this happen," Gosar said.

"Giving out bonuses is ludicrous and amounts to a slap in the face to the American public," Gosar added.

Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Financial Services subcommittee, said banning performance bonuses would only bring down morale at the IRS and unfairly target government employees.

"Both sides, whether one believes it or not, were outraged that something wrong might have been done, but to suggest and paint with a broad brush the whole IRS and say that everyone there at the senior level is not worthy of a bonus or not worthy of our respect is really to do a disservice to public service employees," Serrano said.

Late Monday night, the House approved cuts to the IRS budget by voice vote.