Levin Floor Statement on H.R. 2769, the “Stop Playing on Citizens’ Cash Act”

Jul 31, 2013

Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

The bills today and the bill on Friday on ACA are more about politics than policy--politics at any cost by the Republican majority. They want to change the subject from their inability to legislate and their refusal to go to conference on a budget so that we could implement long-term deficit reduction and not threaten our economy with default again this fall. In their abysmal failure to act on jobs legislation all of these months, there has been no real effort to join hands on their part on jobs--the number one concern of the American people. So they hope to launch their so-called ``Republican playbook'' for August by which they have told their Members to go home and echo the same message and reaffirm their theme--fighting Washington for you.

They have failed miserably to fight in Washington for you, the American people.

There was terrible mismanagement at the IRS in the Tax Exempt Division. I was among the first to call for the Acting Commissioner and Lois Lerner to be removed from their duties; but instead of exploiting the deep problems at the IRS Tax Exempt Division, instead of exploiting them for political purposes, we should be fixing these problems and restoring the trust of the American people in that entity, the entity to which they voluntarily pay taxes. The Republicans have desperately sought to tie their antigovernment message to the President. Let's review the Republican approach, some of it.

Chairman Issa said:

This was a targeting of the President's political enemies, effectively, and lies about it during the election year so that it wasn't discovered until afterwards.

Chairman Hal Rogers said:

Of course, the enemies list out of the White House that IRS was engaged in shutting down or trying to shut down the conservative political viewpoint across the country--an enemies list that rivals those of another President some time ago.

Totally, totally false.

The facts were clear that both conservative and liberal groups were in the groups set aside by the IRS for further scrutiny, and when that became clear, the Republicans shifted to the notion that the conservative groups received more scrutiny. When all evidence to date has indicated that there was no political motivation involved and that no one outside of the IRS was involved, the majority of Republicans here shifted to the notion that they don't have all of the documents, but the political motivation has been that of the Republicans.

I want to also, at this time, express our deep disappointment with the work of the IG and the audit that he did on the Tax Exempt Division. He failed to disclose that both conservative and liberal groups were set aside for further scrutiny. He failed to disclose that he asked his investigative arm to review 5,500 emails and that they found no evidence of political motivation. This flawed report set the stage for the Republicans' manipulation of the facts, and now we are going to spend months cleaning up that work.

As to the bills before us today, these three bills, we agree that the IRS should stop unnecessary conferences, that the employees should not do their work with any political motivation, and that taxpayer rights should be codified in the law.

This bill would impose a moratorium on conferences held by the IRS until the inspector general has submitted a report to Congress that certifies that all recommendations from the TIGTA audit of the IRS conference in Anaheim have been implemented. This audit report included nine recommendations, as the majority has now said, for the IRS to improve the oversight of conferences.

I just want the facts to be put on the table here as to what has happened by the leadership now of the IRS.

Three of the nine recommendations have been fully implemented, and it is anticipated that the remaining six recommendations will be put in place shortly, likely within 3 months. We all agree with the recommendations. The IRS has already agreed to those recommendations, and importantly, it must be acknowledged it is in the process of implementing all nine of these recommendations over the next few months.

I reserve the balance of my time.