House GOP calls for IRS budget cuts with Israel help

House Republicans on Monday unveiled a plan to pay for emergency aid for Israel’s war against Hamas. Reduce IRS funding, crack down on wealthy tax evaders, and improve taxpayer service.

The legislation, released by the House Rules Committee, would authorize about $14 billion in military aid to Israel and cut the same amount from the IRS budget. President Biden has proposed giving roughly the same amount in aid to Israel, but has not called for cuts to other parts of the budget to cover them. The new House Speaker, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), said the new spending would have to be offset by other spending cuts to avoid adding to the debt. Biden also called for Israel to provide roughly $60 billion in aid to Ukraine — an approach rejected by the GOP bill.

The IRS comes in at $80 billion. Spend on answering the phone.

The legislation reflects the GOP’s ongoing commitment to undo the IRS expansion that Biden secured in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, which boosted the agency’s funding by $80 billion to improve taxpayer services and pay for more enforcement efforts against wealthy tax evaders. Biden and House Republicans agreed to cancel about $20 billion of that $80 billion as part of a deal in May to suspend the U.S. debt ceiling. Now, Republicans are pushing for more cuts.

The GOP bill would defund most parts of the IRS expansion, including increased enforcement and a new online portal that allows taxpayers to file their taxes directly with the government for free. The law excludes cuts to Enhanced Taxpayer Services, which helped reduce wait times for calls to the IRS.

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Using IRS funds to offset aid to Israel won’t actually save money: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that an $80 billion IRS expansion by 2022 would reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion by improving collection and enforcement.

Conservatives say the debt ceiling deal is proof that the administration folded IRS funds to approve other priorities, and they’re confident they could be forced to do so again.

“It becomes a bill that Democrats have already embraced,” said Grover Norquist, the anti-tax crusader for Americans for Tax Reform, who opposed the expansion.

The GOP’s bill is likely to be a bitter political battle over support for Israel. Democrats in both houses of Congress oppose the House GOP bill, and the White House is expected to oppose it as well.

“House Republicans are setting a dangerous precedent by suggesting that protecting national security or responding to natural disasters continue on top of cuts in other programs,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Kan.), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said in a statement. . “The partisan bill introduced by House Republicans halts our ability to help Israel defend itself and does not add a dime to humanitarian aid.”

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