House to target IRS with series of bills

The House plans to vote by the end of the month on a series of bills in response to the IRS scandal, including one proposal that would allow people to record conversations between themselves and federal employees, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Tuesday.

While the Republican-led House has held numerous oversight hearings in recent months, votes on the package of bills would be the first legislative response to the IRS’s disclosure that it inappropriately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status for greater scrutiny.

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“The public is feeling a growing sense of distrust of what this administration and what Washington is doing,” Cantor told reporters Tuesday. “And that’s why we in the House this month will be taking up a package of bills to stop this government abuse and put the American people first.

“We should be empowering the American people,” he added. “We should be about holding bureaucrats in Washington accountable, because this town is supposed to work for the people and not the other way around.”

In addition to the recording proposal, the bills would aim to boost customer service at federal agencies, allow agencies to put senior career officials on leave without pay if they are under investigation for abuses and require more approval for publicly funded conferences. 

The House will also bring back legislation known as the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act to require congressional approval for new regulations with a large impact on the economy, and the House will target the 2010 healthcare law with legislation to prohibit its implementation by the IRS.

Separately, House Republicans are pushing a 2014 spending bill that would slash the IRS's budget by $3 billion.