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 RobertsPat RobertsOvernight Finance: Scoop – Trump team eyes dramatic spending cuts | Treasury pick survives stormy hearing Hearing derailed after senator suggests colleague needs Valium Live coverage: Senators grill Trump's Treasury pick MORE (R-Kan.), Mike EnziMike EnziDem senator: DeVos ‘sends shivers down the spine’ Trump Education pick: States should decide on allowing guns in schools Schumer puts GOP on notice over ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Wyo.) and John ThuneJohn ThuneSenate confirms first nominees of Trump era Senate gears up for battle over Trump's CIA pick GOP, Dems hear different things from Trump 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 AyotteTen rumored Trump Cabinet picks who didn't get a job Sasse, Perdue join Armed Services Committee Avid pilot among GOP senators joining Transportation committee MORE (R-N.H.) and Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillWashington Post reporter compares DC rioters to Boston Tea Party Dem senator: Violent inauguration protesters ‘disgusting’ Five things to watch for in Mnuchin hearing MORE (D-Mo.) introduced legislation on Tuesday, while Sens. Richard BurrRichard BurrSenators introduce dueling miners bills Trump education pick to face Warren, Sanders Senate Intel panel to probe Trump team's ties to Russia MORE (R-N.C.) and Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Cybersecurity: Dems split on Manning decision | Assange looking to make deal What we learned from Rick Perry's confirmation hearing Manning commutation sparks Democratic criticism MORE (D-W.Va.) dropped a measure on Wednesday.

Rep. Sam JohnsonSam JohnsonJuan Williams: The real fight is over entitlements Week ahead: Senate ramps up work on ObamaCare repeal; Nominees on hot seat Ill. rep named new chairman for House tax-policy subcommittee 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 McConnellMitch McConnellSenate confirms first nominees of Trump era The new Washington elite schmoozes over lunch Trump takes first official acts at signing ceremony MORE (R-Ky.) has signed on to the bill as well.