Appropriations subcommittee pushes forward IRS budget cut

Democrats on the Appropriations panel also said on Tuesday that the latest GOP response was wrong-headed, and would simply pave the way for the sort of actions lawmakers from both parties want to stop. The National Treasury Employees Union has also slammed the Appropriations proposal.

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“I share the majority's outrage over these improper practices, but a multi-billion dollar cut to the agency will do nothing to solve these problems,” said Rep. Jose Serrano (N.Y.), the top Democrat on the financial services subcommittee.

“Rather than attempting to fund training and reform programs, the majority has chosen to lay off thousands of IRS employees -- almost all of whom had absolutely nothing to do with this issue. This funding level is something that will make tax cheats everywhere smile.”

Besides the funding cut, the GOP spending measure also holds back 10 percent of the IRS’s enforcement funds until it implements all the recommendations from the Treasury audit that outlined the targeting.

A separate report from Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration found that a single agency conference in 2010 cost more than $4 million. The Appropriations bill would also bar conference funding for the IRS until the recommendations from that audit were put into place.

The GOP is also seeking to ban employee bonuses until their effectiveness can be studied, and suspend video production funding after the IRS famously produced parodies of “Gilligan’s Island” and “Star Trek.”

In a separate move, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is also setting up votes in the coming weeks on a variety of IRS-related proposals, including one that would allow taxpayers to record conversations with federal enforcement officials.