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Thune: The IRS Refuses to Answer the $80 Billion Question

“I cannot in good conscience support that [IRS commissioner] nominee as long as there is $80 billion in unaccounted-for funding out there.”

February 28, 2023

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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today criticized the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for blowing past the deadline to provide a detailed report on how the agency intends to use the unprecedented $80 billion in new funding that Democrats provided the agency last August under the guise of “inflation reduction.” Thune announced that he cannot in good conscience vote to confirm Daniel Werfel to be commissioner of the IRS as long as the agency remains unaccountable to the American taxpayers.

Thune recently reintroduced his IRS Funding Accountability Act, legislation that would give Congress a direct say in how this new funding could be spent, hold the IRS more accountable, and provide greater transparency.

Thune’s remarks below:

“Well there are lots of things, for not only the Germans, but everybody to hate about the Inflation Reduction Act.


“Interestingly enough, the tax credits that the leader alluded to, as soon as the legislation passed, the price for electric vehicles went up by about the same amount as the tax credit. So, no big surprise there.


“But one of the things I want to talk about with respect to the Inflation Reduction Act was the massive infusion of money into the IRS. $80 billion, which is about six times their annual budget, and 87,000 new employees at the IRS. And many of us asked questions at the time about how those IRS employees are going to be deployed. What are these people all going to be doing out there?


“And of course, the administration has not had good answers for any of that. But here we are, 10 days after the deadline when the IRS was supposed to submit a detailed report about how all that money was going to be used, and we have yet to see any kind of a report to that effect. And so, 10 days past the deadline, [a] lack of transparency, $80 billion sort of out there with the IRS, and lots of questions about how it's actually being deployed.


“I would say that anything that's not used directly for taxpayer services, any dollars that don't go into taxpayer services, ought to be frozen, frozen in place until the IRS submits a plan that makes it very clear to the American people about how this $80 billion and how these 87,000 new employees are going to be used.


“I've got a piece of legislation along with Chuck Grassley, it's an accountability act that would require that to happen. And I hope that we can get as many people behind that legislation as possible and continue to try and build pressure on the IRS to fulfill its obligation to the American people, that when they pass this, that they would, in fact, tell us exactly how these dollars are going to be used.


“They've got an IRS commissioner, that is, a nominee that was in front of the Senate Finance Committee last week, that they'll probably try and put on the floor for a vote. I cannot in good conscience support that nominee as long as there is $80 billion in unaccounted-for funding out there. And so, that's a nonstarter for me. And I guess I hope that the administration will come forward with that plan, but I'm not holding my breath about it.”