Defund the IRS?

The sharpest opinions on the debate from around the web

A pickpocket.
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The narrow new Republican majority took control of the House this week and, as its first order of business, fulfilled a campaign promise by voting to rescind much of the funding boost for the Internal Revenue Service included in last year's Inflation Reduction Act. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the legislation, if it became law, would eliminate $71 billion of the $80 billion in new IRS funding, which is intended to help the agency hire 87,000 employees in the next decade, some to replace retiring workers. The new hires would include revenue agents, customer-service workers, information-technology specialists, and others who could help the agency collect more taxes. Under the legislation, the IRS would keep some of the money, including $3.8 billion for taxpayer services and $4.2 billion for updating old technology.

Next, Republicans plan to present legislation calling for abolishing the IRS outright. The bills have no chance of passing in the Senate, still controlled by Democrats. But the White House Office of Management and Budget said House Republicans were "making clear that their top economic priority is to allow the rich and multi-billion dollar corporations to skip out on their taxes, while making life harder for ordinary, middle-class families that pay the taxes they owe." Republicans countered by saying that reining in the Internal Revenue Service would prevent the agency from using its new resources to overburden honest taxpayers with unnecessary audits. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) told Fox News that "the average American cares about defunding 87,000 IRS agents." What did this opening salvo by House Republicans accomplish?

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.