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WASHINGTON, D.C. – New House Majority Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) noted on Saturday that the new Congress’ first order of business, now that it is once again under Republican control, will be to withdraw $80 billion in Biden Administration funding that was earmarked for the hiring of tens of thousands of new Internal Revenue Service employees.
“When we come back our very first bill will repeal the funding for 87,000 new IRS agents,” he said from the speaker’s podium, drawing cheers from his fellow GOP members in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. “See? We believe government should be there to help you, not go after you.”
McCarthy was finally elected to power after an unprecedented – and some would say embarrassing –15 vote attempts due to opposition to his bid for the speakership within his own party; McCarthy was finally able to garner the required votes to win after making considerable concessions with a faction of ultraconservative GOP lawmakers to support him.
Meanwhile, the delay in electing a new Majority Speaker to replace the outgoing Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) – due to Republicans gaining a very slim majority in the House in the November 2022 midterms – prevented lawmakers from getting down to business until the matter of leadership was finally decided.
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Once McCarthy was finally installed, he announced on Saturday that the new House GOP majority’s first order of business will be introducing legislation known as the Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act, which will rescind the majority of the nearly $80 billion appropriated for the IRS in the Democrats’ Inflation and Reduction Act.
McCarthy and other Republicans have argued that the addition of an army of new “IRS agents” will result in the tax agency unfairly targeting middle-class Americans at a time where many are already struggling with their finances amid record-high inflation and a pending recession.
“Do you make $75,000 or less?” McCarthy tweeted in August 2022. “Democrats’ new army of 87,000 IRS agents will be coming for you—with 710,000 new audits for Americans who earn less than $75k.”
However, McCarthy’s claim that the IRS would have utilized the funding solely for new agents is not entirely accurate; in reality, the funding would have gone towards hiring that many agents over the course of ten years, including replacing agents who retire or leave in that time. In addition, many of the IRS’ new hires would have consisted of support personnel, such as IT technicians, taxpayer services support staff, and auditors who would have been tasked with tracking down corporate and high-income tax evaders, according to a Treasury Department official.
The Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act is expected to be introduced in the House within the first few weeks of 2023.