House GOP votes to gut IRS budget

posted at 5:21 pm on July 15, 2014 by Noah Rothman

Late Tuesday night, the House of Representatives voted to cut 13 percent from the Internal Revenue Service’s budget. Two proposals submitted by Republican legislators in the House were quickly passed by voice vote, resulting in a cut of $1.14 billion from the tax collection agency’s enforcement budget.

“The changes would leave the IRS with a budget of $9.8 billion for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, 13 percent below this year’s funding level and 21 percent below the administration’s request,” Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday.

The Associated Press attributed the move to cut the IRS’s enforcement budget to “GOP outrage over the agency’s scrutiny of tea party groups.”

“The use of a government agency to harass, target, intimidate and threaten lawful, honest citizens was the worst form of authoritarianism,” said Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., author of an amendment to cut the IRS tax enforcement budget by $353 million. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., followed up with an amendment to cut $788 million more.

President Barack Obama has vowed to veto the measures if they passed the Senate, which is itself an unlikely prospect.

Democrats are incensed over the move to hobble the IRS. “Administration officials have said that additional enforcement spending yields a return of as much as $6 for every dollar spent,” the Bloomberg report noted. But not every dollar spent by the IRS is directed toward tax collection.

A report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released in April revealed that, between October 2010 and December 2012, the IRS paid out $2.8 million in bonuses to employees cited in what often amount to criminal offenses.

The offenses that bonus recipients committed, The Washington Post reported, include “drug use, making violent threats, fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits, misusing government credit cards and — get this — failing to pay their taxes.”

The report said more than 1,100 employees who failed to pay their taxes received discretionary awards of more than $1 million in cash bonuses and more than 10,000 hours in extra paid vacation.

At least five employees received performance awards after being disciplined for intentionally under-reporting their tax liabilities for multiples years, paying taxes late and under-reporting income.

Like many companies and government agencies, the IRS sweetens the deal for its employees by giving bonuses based on performance. But at the IRS, breaking the federal tax laws you were hired to enforce and running afoul of other agency rules aren’t considered relevant to performance-based awards.

The IRS may be only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to federal regulatory agencies that could benefit from a haircut.

This news comes amid new questions about April Sands, a former Federal Election Commission official and outspoken supporter of President Barack Obama on social networks like Twitter, who suffered a hard drive crash similar to that experienced by ex-IRS official Lois Lerner and seven others at the tax collection agency. Also similar to Lerner’s experience, the FEC “recycled” Sands’ hardware following the crash.

“The twist,” The Daily Caller reported, “is that Sands also worked under Lois Lerner when the ex-IRS agent — who is currently embroiled in a scandal over the targeting of conservative political groups — worked at the FEC’s enforcement division.”

Sands has been under investigation and was cited by the House Oversight Committee in a document released yesterday in which she appeared to have “posted Twitter messages during regular working hours soliciting or endorsing political contribution to Democratic candidates, including President Barack Obama.” Sands he was also sharply critical of Republicans and called them her “enemy” in some those messages posted on the popular microblogging service.


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Comment pages: 1 2

But budget reductions are what caused the IRS to have IT problems to begin with. Just imagine the problems they will have now thanks to those no-good Republicans.

/ / / / / /s/ / / / / /a/ / / / / /r/ / / / / /c/ / / / / /a/ / / / / /s/ / / / / /m/ / / / / / / /

Effay5 on July 15, 2014 at 5:30 PM

LISTEN UP, YOU LILLY-LIVERED, OBAMA-LOVING COMMIE!!

Oh wait, say – was that sarcasm?

Tard on July 15, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Unfortunately, the House Leadership not only lacks the will to do so, they’ve been so captured and corrupted by the system, they work as hard as the progressive-fascists to maintain it.

Athos on July 15, 2014 at 6:52 PM

This is why I know that the House leadership is corrupt and deceitful: they have the means to start making agencies feel pain very quickly and will NOT use their power do so.

Remember that with every threat of a budget ‘cut’ or every ‘investigation’ that if the House wanted to get results it just has to start pulling the certs of CO’s. Without that certification the money does not get spent… no matter how much is set aside it does not get spent without a CO who has a certification to spend.

It is by far the easiest power to use to tame an agency, and yet the GOP Elites sit on their hands. That is complicity when such a simple thing is not done.

ajacksonian on July 15, 2014 at 7:23 PM

Gut iss Goode!

SMACKRUNNER on July 15, 2014 at 7:24 PM

Just to be sure, y’all do realize that if the House does not back down first [and with Boehner, it is all but guaranteed], it will not be allowed by the Senate. So at that point it will go into the catch-all Continuing Resolution that we have been using in place of the Constitutional budget process for …. as long as Obama has been in power and before.

And in every one of those Continuing Resolutions, the Institutional Republicans have caved in completely on every issue. It is never “the hill to fight on” for them. This is for show, and anyone with half a lick of sense will assume so until at least a fiscal year AFTER any cut is really passed.

Subotai Bahadur on July 15, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Continue to cut it 13% per month until they turn over the “missing” emails.

Wino on July 15, 2014 at 7:38 PM

ajacksonian on July 15, 2014 at 6:35 PM

Thank you! That was very informative, good to know.

captnjoe on July 15, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Death by stoning.

MaiDee on July 15, 2014 at 7:12 PM

They are trying that in Colorado and Washington right now. Let’s see how it works out.

captnjoe on July 15, 2014 at 7:55 PM

Can we stop with the constant Noah bashing? Its rude and unproductive. Don’t like him, don’t read him. Very simple.

katy the mean old lady on July 15, 2014 at 7:57 PM

ONLY 13%?!

GarandFan on July 15, 2014 at 8:53 PM

It should be a 100% reduction of budget.

UnstChem on July 15, 2014 at 10:15 PM

So if the House wanted to make some examples, they could start right at the top.

ajacksonian on July 15, 2014 at 6:35 PM

I knew I didn’t understand all the nuts and bolts of funding but I do have a basic understanding of what should be the budget process (5 yrs. of CRs aside). So, I was having trouble understanding why, if they have this power beyond passing the budget, they have not even tried to stop some of these runaway, rogue agencies. Thanks (everyone else, too) for the explanation(s).

GOP Leadership… cowards, all.

jffree1 on July 15, 2014 at 11:19 PM

These “victimized” groups weren’t trying to exercise their free speech, they were perjuring themselves to the government to get a tax exempt status they didn’t qualify for. They were con men, and they got their tax break anyway, but apparently even inconveniencing the frauds and hucksters on the right is a crime (to the right…).
 
Tlaloc on July 15, 2014 at 6:02 PM

 

Sew dew ewe halve a link, or is that just more of your 6000-year-old-earth preachifying?
 
rogerb on July 15, 2014 at 6:12 PM

 
I guess we’re all done.
 
Again.
 
It really is sad that lying is all you’ve got.
 
Again.
 
Worse still, lying to side with the IRS. Consider that for a bit.

rogerb on July 16, 2014 at 7:06 AM

Sew dew ewe halve a link, or is that just more of your 6000-year-old-earth preachifying?

rogerb on July 15, 2014 at 6:12 PM

If you stop linking Biblical creationists with Tlaloc, then I won’t say that all Darwinists agree with everything taught by fellow Darwinist Charles K. Johnson, founder of the Flat Earth Society & publisher of the Flat Earth News.

http://creation.com/the-flat-earth-myth-and-creationism

BTW, the many deceitful & dishonest attempts by Darwinists to link us with belief in a flat Earth are discussed in the linked article.
It’s been common knowledge among creationists that the Earth is spherical since way before Columbus.
Even the Bible refers to Earth’s roundness.
But that hasn’t stopped skeptics from peddling lies about us throughout the centuries.

itsnotaboutme on July 16, 2014 at 7:23 AM

This is why most federal employees are Democrats.

itsnotaboutme on July 15, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Chicken and egg. People that loves them some big government will both vote for it and apply for jobs inside of it. Republicans go do other things.

slickwillie2001 on July 15, 2014 at 6:58 PM

Eh, not so much.
As a former insider (I worked for USPS for 25 years), I saw many new hires begin as politically apathetic, but the union would brainwash them until they became zombies (that’s how Bob Hope once famously described Democrats).

itsnotaboutme on July 16, 2014 at 7:29 AM

zombies (that’s how Bob Hope once famously described Democrats).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWpU8sX10_4

itsnotaboutme on July 16, 2014 at 7:33 AM

Can we stop with the constant Noah bashing? Its rude and unproductive. Don’t like him, don’t read him. Very simple.

katy the mean old lady on July 15, 2014 at 7:57 PM

Ed, AP, TownHall, Rush, & Levin like Noah.
I guess they’re all secretly RINOs.

itsnotaboutme on July 16, 2014 at 7:35 AM

It’s about time the House used it’s only weapon against the socialists/communists. Next, they should cut off Obama’s vacation and the White House money.

cajunpatriot on July 16, 2014 at 7:59 AM

These “victimized” groups weren’t trying to exercise their free speech, they were perjuring themselves to the government to get a tax exempt status they didn’t qualify for. They were con men, and they got their tax break anyway, but apparently even inconveniencing the frauds and hucksters on the right is a crime (to the right…).
 
Tlaloc on July 15, 2014 at 6:02 PM

 
Sew dew ewe halve a link, or is that just more of your 6000-year-old-earth preachifying?
 
rogerb on July 15, 2014 at 6:12 PM

 
If you stop linking Biblical creationists with Tlaloc, then I won’t say that all Darwinists…
 
itsnotaboutme on July 16, 2014 at 7:23 AM

 
Please don’t misunderstand and think the reference is to mock the creationists.

rogerb on July 16, 2014 at 8:12 AM

Without that certification the money does not get spent… no matter how much is set aside it does not get spent without a CO who has a certification to spend.

It is by far the easiest power to use to tame an agency, and yet the GOP Elites sit on their hands. That is complicity when such a simple thing is not done.

ajacksonian on July 15, 2014 at 7:23 PM

This. They need to PULL THE PLUG. You dry up their money, they will act to survive and those emails will magically appear. You watch.

dogsoldier on July 16, 2014 at 8:59 AM

captnjoe on July 15, 2014 at 7:55 PM

LOL.I was talking about the type of stoning that is actually healthy for 99.9% of us.

MaiDee on July 16, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Can the House really pull the money on a CO – is that really possible or is that just a nice thought?

Zomcon JEM on July 16, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Cut their enforcement budget out completely. Zero.

Ward Cleaver on July 16, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Can we stop with the constant Noah bashing? Its rude and unproductive. Don’t like him, don’t read him. Very simple.

katy the mean old lady on July 15, 2014 at 7:57 PM

Agreed. I am hopeful he will settle in. I believe he has something to offer. Noah comes to us from a very different venue. Once and if he is able to find his footing here at HA perhaps folks will lighten up a wee bit. It is growing quite tedious.

Bmore on July 16, 2014 at 12:27 PM

From the inside, personal opinion, not official, as always:

There’s only three places this money is going to be cut from. Identity theft detection programs, ITIN fraud programs, and training. This is not a good idea. What would be a good idea is micromanaging the hell out of the budget, or assigning the certifications to spend the money to responsible and sympathetic (to reason) individuals.

Asurea on July 16, 2014 at 8:14 PM

Not to worry. This is simply another GOP dog and pony show. ALL of the money (and probably some extra) will be restored in conference when Harry Reid refuses to accept ANY cuts at all in anything, and the cowardly GOP House will quietly acquiesce, yet again for the umpteenth time, pretending it put up a really big fight when in fact it did nothing but pretend like it.

Asok Asus on July 16, 2014 at 11:39 PM

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