House GOP, White House clash over IRS reform

House GOP, White House clash over IRS reform

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) (TMN file photo)

By Jacqueline McElhone

Washington (Talk Media News)– House Republicans will attempt to pass legislation reforming the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this week, defying a opposition from the White House.

“Right now, we have a tax code that no one can understand being enforced by an agency that no one trusts,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said during a press conference Tuesday. “We need the IRS and a tax code that works for the taxpayer.”

The House will take on four bills this week addressing accountability and transparency within the agency.

One piece, introduced by Rep. Jason Smith (R-Miss.) will prohibit the IRS from spending revenue raised through user fees without Congressional approval.

“[The legislation] will make sure that we express our article one authority that Congress does appropriate all funding and that some unelected bureaucrat doesn’t have complete discretion on how they spend these fees,” Smith said Tuesday.

The White House’s Office of Management and Budge, however, has issued a formal veto threat against the bill, arguing in a statement that placing money raised by fees in a general fund will ultimately strip resources from the IRS.

The other three bills do not receive a direct veto threat, but are nevertheless opposed by the White House.

Two pieces focus on workforce integrity, barring the agency from hiring those who have “seriously delinquent debt” or rehiring employees who have been fired for misconduct.

In both instances, the Obama administration argues that the language is too vague and could end up barring employees who have marginal debt or those who have previously been rehired without incident.

The final bill will prohibit the agency from granting service awards until a customer service plan is implemented, a request the OMB says is unnecessary.

“The IRS has already developed and has begun to execute a strategy to improve taxpayer services. The real constraint on the IRS’s ability to serve taxpayers effectively is severe underfunding, including for taxpayer services,” the OMB’s statement of administration policy reads.

The introduction of the legislation, which passed through the Ways and Means committee last week, coincide with the Tax Day filing deadline.

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