Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) introduced a new measure Thursday that would bar federal employees late on their taxes from getting a bonus.

{mosads}The measure comes after a Treasury inspector general found last year that the IRS had given over $1 million in bonuses to agency staffers with tax debts over a two-year span, and almost $3 million in awards to staffers with conduct issues. 

“Let me make it perfectly clear, employees who deliberately ignore the process and procedures for fulfilling their tax obligations must be held accountable,” Roberts said in a statement.

“When these public employees serve at the IRS, their lack of willingness to pay their tax obligations calls into question the integrity of the agency. It’s really unconscionable that there are tax delinquents working as tax collectors.”

Roberts introduced legislation in 2014 that would have targeted IRS staffers with tax debts, along with Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and John Thune (R-S.D.). There was bipartisan anger at IRS staffers with tax debts receiving bonuses last year, especially so soon after the controversy surrounding the agency’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups.

The IRS announced in November that it had awarded another round of bonuses, for which staffers with tax debts were eligible.

John Koskinen, the IRS commissioner, had said last year that he wanted to work with the agency’s union to ensure that employees with conduct issues don’t get bonuses.

Agency officials have also stressed that IRS staffers have a far higher compliance rate on their taxes — over 99 percent — than other federal agencies and the entire taxpayer population. 

Tags John Thune Mike Enzi Pat Roberts

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