House Republicans' $1.1 trillion spending bill includes budget cuts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that could make it harder for the agency to implement some of the most complex parts of ObamaCare.
President Obama on Thursday voiced support for the "cromnibus" bill in part because it doesn’t slash funding for his signature healthcare law.
But the funding bill's $350 million in budget cuts to the IRS will further burden the already cash-strapped agency.
The role of the IRS will be especially important to ObamaCare this year. The upcoming filing season will be the first for two major components of the health law – the premium tax credit and the individual mandate.
With the agency in charge of determining eligibility and handing out penalties, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has already warned that 2015 could be the worst tax-filing season on record.
Koskinen, who took over the embattled agency earlier this year, has spent much of his tenure warning that the agency needs more funding. He called the new ObamaCare provisions “perhaps our most intense challenge.”
“I am deeply concerned about the ability of the IRS to continue to fulfill its mission if the agency lacks adequate funding,” Koskinen told the House Ways and Means Committee at a hearing in September.
“Our current level of funding is clearly less than what the agency needs, especially to provide the level of taxpayer services the public has a right to expect,” he testified, warning that the agency needs more employees to keep pace with the growing demand.
The IRS has already been dogged by Republicans for lacking the ability to immediately verify people who qualify for ObamaCare.
Earlier this year, Koskinen also noted that the agency spent $330 million in 2014 alone to bolster its web infrastructure, though “none of that money was provided” and it was then forced to halt other programs.
This year’s spending battle was focused on Obama's immigration action and barely raised the issue of ObamaCare, a vast shift from last year’s 16-day government shutdown in Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp The Memo: Biden's immigration problems reach crescendo in Del Rio Matthew McConaughey on potential political run: 'I'm measuring it' MORE's (R-Texas) attempt to defund the law.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at a briefing Thursday that the president was pleased that the law would remain intact.
“This compromise proposal does not include riders that would significantly gut the president’s ability to implement the Affordable Care Act,” Earnest said Thursday.