Levin Floor Statement on GOP’s IRS Budget Cut Bill

Apr 20, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in opposition to H.R. 4885 – a bill that would effectively cut the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) budget by as much as $500 million:

(Remarks as prepared)

“Republicans have cut the IRS budget by close to $1 billion over the past five years. And this bill is just another budget cut – further reducing the IRS’s budget by as much as $500 million.

“The consequences of these budget cuts for taxpayers are significant, as you can see in this chart.

“The Republicans complain about poor IRS customer service, but they only have to look in the mirror to see who is responsible.

“Here are the facts. Republican cuts to the IRS budget from 2010-2015 resulted in:

  • 13,000 fewer full-time IRS employees;
  • A significant number of taxpayer phone calls being dropped;
  • Delays in much-needed upgrades to information technology and cybersecurity; and
  • The lowest level of audits in a decade, with less than 1% of taxpayers being audited last year.

“This is all despite the fact that the number of tax returns being filed increased by 9 million, or 7%, since 2010.

“This effort today is motivated entirely by politics, instead of by good policy. The IRS has had the authority to offset the cost of taxpayer services with user fees since 1995, yet this is the first time that Republicans have tried to prevent the IRS from using them.

“We’ve heard the Republicans argue that the IRS used some of this funding to implement the Affordable Care Act. Well that’s exactly what they should be doing – implementing a law passed by Congress. A law that has resulted in 20 million more Americans with health coverage. So this bill is, in essence, another effort to undermine health care reform.

“The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy, in which it says that if the President were presented with this bill, his senior advisors would recommend he veto it.

“The statement reads: “By further constraining IRS resources, H.R. 4885 would have detrimental effects on the IRS’s ability to provide quality service to taxpayers, administer the tax code, and enforce tax laws.”

“It continues: “The IRS needs more resources, not fewer, to deter tax cheats, serve honest taxpayers, and protect taxpayer data.”

“The Republicans are using these IRS bills this week to attack the IRS and its employees as a distraction. They don’t want hardworking Americans to know that they missed the deadline to come up with a budget, and that they’re doing absolutely nothing to help the people of Flint or Puerto Rico who so desperately need our help.

“I urge my colleagues to vote against this bill.”