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Senate panel approves bill with funds to implement tax law

Senate panel approves bill with funds to implement tax law
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A Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday approved a $23.688 billion financial services spending bill for fiscal 2019 that would provide the IRS with additional funds to implement the tax law President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE signed last year.

The financial services and general government subcommittee advanced the bill by voice vote. The measure will be considered by the full Senate Appropriations Committee later this week.

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The IRS earlier this year had requested $397 million for tax-law implementation, saying it would spend the bulk of that money on technology and hardware.

The omnibus spending law Congress passed in March provided the IRS with $320 million of its request, and the bill the Senate subcommittee approved Tuesday would provide the IRS with the remaining $77 million.

In total, the bill would provide the IRS with $11.263 billion, which is less than the $11.43 billion level for this year and the $11.6 billion included in the measure the House Appropriations Committee passed last week. However, the Senate bill would still increase the IRS's base funding by $75 million.

Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordCollusion judgment looms for key Senate panel GOP loads up lame-duck agenda as House control teeters The Hill's Morning Report — Kavanaugh, Ford saga approaches bitter end MORE (R-Okla.), chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee, said the bill would provide the IRS with more money for taxpayer services and enforcement than the Trump administration requested.

This reflects "the subcommittee's commitment to two critical goals: improving taxpayer access to quality customer service and reversing the tax gap — the amount owed but not paid."

The top Democrat on the subcommittee, Christopher CoonsChristopher (Chris) Andrew CoonsDem senators urge Pompeo to reverse visa policy on diplomats' same-sex partners 15 Saudis identified in disappearance of Washington Post columnist The Senate needs to cool it MORE (D-Del.), also spoke favorably about the bill's treatment of the IRS.

"We must continue to make progress in closing the $400 billion tax gap," he said.

Besides the IRS, the bill would also provide funding to agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Federal Communications Commission and federal judiciary.

Unlike the House Appropriations Committee's bill, the Senate measure is "free of any new or controversial riders," Coons said. 

However, the Senate subcommittee measure, like the House bill, does not provide funding sought by Democrats for grants for state election integrity efforts.