National

House of Representatives Votes to Cut IRS Funding

By Victor Josifovski

National/World Editor

On Jan. 9, the House of Representatives voted 221-210 to cut funding to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by nearly 71 billion dollars. As the first move in Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s newly consolidated House, the Republican-sponsored legislation demonstrates opposition to recent efforts Democrats have made to strengthen and support the IRS. 

The vote comes in response to the Climate, Tax, and Health Care bill Democrats passed in August of 2022, which, among other packages, included nearly 80 billion additional dollars in funding for the IRS, on top of what the government already proportions to it in the annual budget. For many Republicans, the unpopular Democratic expansion of the IRS became a rallying point in the past midterm elections. With a new house majority, Republicans quickly struck at a package that lead sponsor Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) said “is part of the broad Biden administration strategy to tax, audit exponentially more Americans.” 

Despite the swift action by Republicans, however, the bill is unlikely to progress any further; the Democratic majority in the Senate already chose to ignore the legislation, and without passing both houses, the bill cannot advance. While Republicans staunchly oppose the growth of the IRS, Democratic support is the result of what they feel has been a decade of downsizing within the organization. As former IRS commissioner Charles Rettig pronounced last November, the IRS saw its budget decrease by nearly 15 percent when adjusting for inflation in the last decade, and the number of employees working at the agency today is on par with numbers from nearly 1974. 

Although the bill will probably never leave the House, the vote maintains sentimental importance and indicates the direction of Republican policy. By striking at the IRS, Speaker Kevin Mccarthy followed through on his speakership election pledges, and Republicans have doubled down on their anti-taxation policies and general campaign promises to combat legislature emerging under the Biden administration and the Democratically-held Senate. 

In this sense, Republicans struck quickly in their first few days in a consolidated House of Representatives, foreshadowing broader budgetary struggles to come and ushering in the newly elected Republican majority in a striking manner. 

 

(Sources: AP News, CNBC, Politico, Washington Post, NY Times)

Categories: National, News

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