GOP senators seek legislation on IRS bonuses

Three senior Senate Republicans introduced legislation on Thursday to bar any Internal Revenue Service employees with tax debt from receiving bonuses.

The legislation from Sens. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsNo. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight Overnight Healthcare: McConnell warns Senate not to block repeal debate | Insurers knock Cruz proposal | WH tries to discredit CBO | Lawmakers propose .1B NIH funding boost Trump: I’ll be ‘very angry’ if Senate doesn’t pass ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (R-Kan.), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziWe can't allow Congress to take earned benefits programs away from seniors Senate approves Trump's debt deal with Democrats Senate panel might not take up budget until October MORE (R-Wyo.) and John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneAviation panel recommends Trump roll back safety rules Overnight Regulation: House moves to block methane rule | Senators wrestle with allowing driverless trucks | EPA delays toxic waste rule Overnight Tech: Senate looks at self-driving trucks | Facebook to keep ads off fake news | House panel calls Equifax CEO to testify MORE (R-S.D.), all members of the tax-writing Finance Committee, comes on the heels of a Treasury inspector general report that found the IRS gave more than $1 million in bonuses to employees with tax issues.

“This isn’t a partisan issue — it’s just commonsense. Until the IRS gets back on course, it should not be in the business of awarding bonuses — particularly to its agents who are unable or unwilling to abide by the tax laws they are directed to uphold,” Roberts said in a statement.

The measure marks at least the third bill dealing with the bonuses introduced in the Senate just this week. Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteStale, misguided, divisive: minimum wage can't win elections Trump voter fraud commission sets first meeting outside DC RNC chair warns: Republicans who refused to back Trump offer 'cautionary tale' MORE (R-N.H.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillGOP sees fresh opening with Dems’ single payer embrace Senators blast internet subsidy program It is time to make domestic terrorism a federal crime MORE (D-Mo.) introduced legislation on Tuesday, while Sens. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrLawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program Facebook under fire over Russian ads in election 5 senators call for US to shutter embassy in Havana MORE (R-N.C.) and Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinGOP sees fresh opening with Dems’ single payer embrace Trump steps up courtship of Dems The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-W.Va.) dropped a measure on Wednesday.

Rep. Sam JohnsonSam JohnsonHow Republicans split on the Harvey aid, fiscal deal House passes Trump deal on majority Democratic vote Week ahead: Tech awaits Trump budget MORE (R-Texas) introduced the House version of the bill from Roberts, Enzi and Thune.

The bills come close to one year after the IRS apologized for giving improper scrutiny to Tea Party groups, an admission that set off a firestorm on and off Capitol Hill.

John Koskinen, the IRS commissioner, has already come under fire this year for approving more than $60 million in bonuses, some of which went to staffers with tax issues.

Koskinen has said that he wants to ensure that employees delinquent on their taxes don’t get awards in the future, but has urged Congress to give him time to negotiate with the National Treasury Employees Union.

Committee leaders have signaled that they’ll take a wait-and-see approach to the issue, but the new bill shows that congressional leaders, at least on the GOP side, have an interest in legislation.

Thune is in Senate Republican leadership, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Ky.) has signed on to the bill as well.