One of President Biden’s signature laws – the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed in August of 2021 – includes billions in new funding for the IRS.
That funding is enough for the IRS to hire an estimated 87,000 people over the next decade, according to the Treasury Department. Many of those hires would replace retiring workers, and the IRS has said those hires would be instructed to focus their enforcement efforts on corporations and wealthy tax evaders, not auditing small businesses and middle-class taxpayers.
Republicans have called for that funding to be revoked, making it one of their top policy goals in Congress.
One GOP lawmaker, Rep. Ashley Hinson of Iowa, recently claimed that goal has already been accomplished, tweeting: “It’s official – we just defunded the 87,000 new IRS agents.”
Did Congress defund 87,000 new IRS agents?
- H.R. 23 – Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act
- Public Law 117-169 – Inflation Reduction Act
- U.S. Constitution – Article I, Section VII
No, Congress has not defunded 87,000 IRS agents.
WHAT WE FOUND
In the 2022 midterm election, Republicans won a majority of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. That majority took office in January 2023.
On Jan. 9, Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) introduced the bill H.R. 23, called the Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act.
The full text of the bill contains only its title and one sentence, which states: “The unobligated balances of amounts appropriated or otherwise made available for activities of the Internal Revenue Service by [certain] paragraphs… of Public Law 117–169 (commonly known as the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022”) as of the date of the enactment of this Act are rescinded.”
The bill’s text is referring to the funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act for enforcement and operations support at the Internal Revenue Service.
The bill was passed the same day it was introduced, on a straight party-line vote – with 221 Republicans voting for and 210 Democrats voting against.
However, for the bill to take effect, it must be passed by the Senate and be signed by the president. Alternatively, if it passed the House and Senate but was vetoed by the president, it could still become law if Congress voted to override the veto with two-thirds majorities in both chambers.
The Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act has not been introduced in the Senate, and is unlikely to become law given Democrats still control both the Senate and the White House.
“Democrats won’t let it happen,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.