House Republicans propose $838 million cut to IRS

House Republicans propose $838 million cut to IRS
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House Republicans want to cut $838 million from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for fiscal 2016, which begins Oct. 1.

The reduction would be more than double the $350 million Congress cut from the agency’s budget for 2015.

For next year, the IRS would receive $10.1 billion, which is below the agency’s sequester limit and below the level Congress enacted 12 years ago. The amount would allow the IRS to perform its core duties, the House Appropriations Committee said.

The details were outlined Wednesday in the Financial Services and General Government Operations spending bill, which also contains $75 million more than current levels to improve the rate the IRS answers phone calls from taxpayers.

The GOP-led panel said the bill includes several provisions to rein in the Obama administration’s “overreach.”

“The legislation includes provisions to stop the IRS from further implementing the individual mandate under ObamaCare, to protect the right to free speech and political involvement, and to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from implementing a net-neutrality order,” a bill summary said.

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Following the IRS scandal involving the targeting of Tea Party groups, the bill contains provisions to further protect taxpayers’ funds, such as one that would prohibit funding for the IRS to target people who exercise their First Amendment rights.

Republicans want to give the FCC $315 million, which is $25 million below current levels and $73 million below President Obama’s request. The bill would prohibit the FCC from implementing net neutrality until certain court cases are resolved. The new net neutrality regulations seek to prevent Internet providers from blocking, slowing or otherwise interfering with people's unfettered access to the Web.

The bill would transition funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to the congressional appropriations process from its current source of direct funding from the Federal Reserve.

Federal courts, the Small Business Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the General Services Administration would receive funding in the bill.

Just like other GOP spending bills, the legislation includes provisions that seek to undermine Obama’s policy to normalize relations with Cuba.

Specifically, the bill would prohibit travel to Cuba for educational exchanges that don’t involve academic study for a degree program. It would prohibit the importation of property confiscated by the Cuban government and would prohibit financial transactions with the Cuban intelligence service or military.

The bill also maintains provisions that prohibit federal funds and local funds from being used for abortions and to advance marijuana legislation.

—Julian Hattem contributed to this report.