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Government Shutdown

White House directs IRS to pay tax refunds during shutdown

Lawyers for the Trump administration decided on Monday that the Internal Revenue Service will be able to issue tax refunds, despite the government shutdown.

During earlier shutdowns, including one last year, the IRS said it would not send out any refunds. A senior official with the Office of Management and Budget told The Washington Post that it was decided processing tax refunds is similar to paying Social Security benefits, which is allowed during a government shutdown.

Several Democrats say this not only goes against precedent but also the Antideficiency Act, which states that federal agencies cannot spend money that has not been authorized by Congress. "What we're seeing now is an effort by the administration to ignore legal views, to basically put aside the law and limit the political impact of what's going on," Sam Berger, who worked in the general counsel's office at the OMB during the Obama administration, told the Post.

Since the shutdown started on Dec. 22, 90 percent of IRS staffers have had to stay home without pay. Roughly 800,000 federal workers will miss out on their first paycheck this week.