Bill with $838M IRS cut advances in House

Bill with $838M IRS cut advances in House
© Greg Nash

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday advanced a spending bill that would cut $838 million from the International Revenue Service (IRS) for fiscal 2016.

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

For the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, the IRS would receive $10.1 billion, which is below the agency’s sequester limit and returns the agency to funding levels last seen in 2004.

Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the bill, admitted the “brunt” of the cuts targeted the IRS and the General Services Administration. "Frankly, they both have recent histories of inappropriate behavior,” he said.

Democrats, however, slammed the cuts to the IRS.

ADVERTISEMENT
“Once again, this is a misguided attempt by the majority to do two things: punish the entire agency for the problems regarding 501(c)4 investigation and prevent the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Last year, these efforts to harm the IRS ultimately hurt the taxpayers by reducing the deficit and reducing taxpayer services,” said Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), the ranking member of the subcommittee that compiled the bill.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat of the full committee, blasted the bill’s “grossly inadequate allocation” and Republicans for refusing to negotiate a new budget deal that would lift sequestration ceilings for next year.

“The president proposed to end sequestration through more realistic and more reasonable budgeting four months ago, but Republicans have yet to engage on finding a workable solution,” she said. “How much longer do we have to play out this charade before the committee writes bills that could be enacted into law?

Lowey offered an amendment that would have removed what she called “20 veto-bait riders” or policy provisions that were attached to the bill. Some of the riders Republicans included would prohibit the IRS from implementing its parts of ObamaCare, limit the new policy to renew diplomatic relations with Cuba and block the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality order.

The proposal was blocked on a party-line vote.

Republicans voted to wrap in several amendments, including a very contentious one that would ban funding for a law approved by the Washington, D.C. council that is meant to prohibit employers from discriminating against workers based on their reproductive healthcare decisions.

Lawmakers on the panel adopted an amendment from Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) that would reinstate overnight mail-delivery standards that were changed in January.

The bill would also 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.

--This report was updated at 5:54 a.m. on June 18.