Last Updated:October 25 @ 08:07 am

GOP looks for ways to limit the IRS while Democrats block action

By Washington Times (DC)

(File Photo)

While the IRS scandal is only a week old, Capitol Hill Republicans already are pushing more than a half-dozen pieces of legislation that would punish and clip the wings of the beleaguered agency.

The anti-IRS measures - ranging from throwing Internal Revenue Service agents in jail to a halt of IRS-led audits - are the latest headache for an agency at the center of several investigations whose acting boss was forced to resign this week over the improper targeting of conservative groups.

Republicans deny their legislative attacks are partisan potshots, saying the IRS violated basic constitutional rights. But some of the bill's sponsors hint of a link between the agency's action and the Obama administration - a move Democrats say is a false connection and crass political exploitation.

Rep. John Fleming, Louisiana Republican, has introduced a bill that would suspend for 180 days the IRS' authority to conduct new audits, saying the moratorium is needed while Congress investigates the matter.

But he said it's already clear that the IRS for years has been used as a political weapon to target tea party groups, conservative professors and pundits critical of President Obama.

"What's especially stunning is that the president, the attorney general and the IRS are all suggesting that this was not a coordinated attack on conservative groups or individuals," Mr. Fleming said. "If that's true, then our worst fears about the IRS may be true: countless IRS agents are going rogue and using their government-backed power to carry out personal and political vendettas."

He added he's "not convinced that's the case."

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a tea party favorite who is considering a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, proposed a resolution that condemns the IRS targeting of tea party groups and that calls for an investigation and possible criminal charges for those responsible.

"The president has deemed this inexcusable, yet actions speak louder than words," said Mr. Paul, suggesting Mr. Obama was slow in taking the scandal seriously. "It is time for President Obama and his administration to act, and it is our duty as Americans to hold them accountable."

Senate Democrats, who control the chamber, placed a hold on Mr. Rand's bill to prevent it from coming to the floor for a vote.

Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, has proposed a bill that would bar the IRS from discriminating against groups under - or applying for - tax-exempt status based on their ideology, saying "it's sad that this legislation is even necessary."

"But as we learn more and ensure those involved are held accountable for this wrongdoing, this bill will prohibit additional targeting from occurring in the future," he said.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rep. Michael R. Turner of Ohio, both Republicans, introduced companion bills that call for IRS employees who willfully violate the "constitutional rights of a taxpayer" to be fired and face criminal charges.

Rep. J. Randy Forbes, Virginia Republican, meanwhile, has dusted off a bill he initially proposed in 2011 that prohibits the IRS from hiring any personnel for the purpose of implementing Mr. Obama'a 2010 health care law. A Forbes spokesman said the lawmaker reintroduced the bill this week in light of the IRS scandal, which broke last Friday.

The IRS matter also inspired Sen. Dean Heller, Nevada Republican, to introduce a bill that would prohibit the IRS from receiving any funding under the health care law - major parts of which it is supposed to enforce.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pushed back at the condemnations, saying Republicans are exploiting the IRS matter - along with bubbling scandals involving the 2012 Benghazi attacks and the Justice Department's snooping of The Associated Press - in order to falsely tarnish the president.

"They will use these as, again, subterfuges, evasions of what the American people want us to do here. They want us to create jobs," the California Democrat said Thursday during her weekly news conference at the Capitol.

"The president is strong. And because he's strong and because he's effective, they make him the object of their political action. ... But I have great confidence in him."

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7 Comments

  1. BobinmsComment by Bobinms
    May 18, 2013 @ 9:53 am

    Amazing how the Democrats have suddenly become huge supporters of more jobs. Anything to change the subject.

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  2. bna42Comment by bna42
    May 18, 2013 @ 10:10 am

    “Senate Democrats, who control the chamber, placed a hold on Mr. Rand’s bill to prevent it from coming to the floor for a vote.”

    Democrats don’t care about the IRS because they don’t pay their taxes anyway. Charley Rangel was allowed to evade income taxes for 17 years, and instead of serving years in prison he was elected to another term in the House. Look at all the tax cheats Obama chose for his administration who had to pay up before they could be confirmed. Tom Daschle didn’t even make it to confirmation because of his tax evasion.

    I think Democrats would change their attitude about the IRS if audit notices went out to EVERY Democrat in Congress. I wonder if Pelosi would then say they are “exploiting this issue”.

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  3. retirednavyComment by retirednavy
    May 18, 2013 @ 11:45 am

    IRS needs to be done away with and a flat tax be levied to the states by CONGRESS as the constitution requires. Require every person receiving an income to pay 5 percent of their gross income to the state and the state to pay a national tax based population to support national defense and the national highway system all other roads and highways to be maintained by the state and counties. States pay for their federal representation and all programs within the state to be paid by that state. No funds to be recycled through the federal government. All parks and recreation facilities returned to athority and paid for by the state. All mineral rites to be returned to the state for ownership, regulation and royalties paid to the state at the current international rate. Remove federal and corporate pricing control of commodities for human consumsion. States to regulate taxes on all petrolium products in their respective state. Ownership of all commercial federal properties not being used to conduct federal business will be returned to the state for public sale. Federal police forces will be reduced to one type and will be limited to protection of federal interests.

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    • darralComment by darral
      May 18, 2013 @ 6:38 pm

      Some good Ideas But nothing is going to get done by talking about it, AND nothing is going to get done as long as the Democratic party has any control, we must first Abolish this Destructive Treasonous Democratic party.

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  4. wedeyComment by wedey
    May 18, 2013 @ 11:50 am

    If the House is smart, they hold the purse strings and should defund the IRS and Obamacare until they get the answers they need.

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    • nielszooComment by nielszoo
      May 18, 2013 @ 12:58 pm

      It would be symbolic as best. They’ve been spending money like drunken sailors for years without a budget. Passing another law presumes that they will actually follow it. This regime, more than most, believes itself to be above the law so they ignore it.

      (My apologies to sailors and Navy personnel for using the ‘drunken sailor’ cliche. There really is not enough booze or sailors on the planet to even come close to how this government takes, steals, borrows, prints and spends money…

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  5. rex1776Comment by rex1776
    May 20, 2013 @ 10:20 am

    July 4th, 1776 The Declaration of Independence from tyranny was signed thereby creating these United States of America to be Governed “By the People, of the. People, and for the People” form of self Government

    This Document also states that in order maintain our Freedom and Liberty, the American people have a responsibility and a “DUTY”, yes it actually states a duty to throw off our Government if it’s form becomes NOT, of the people, by the people, and for the people form of self government, and create a new government as we see fit.

    The time has come for the American people to organize our militias and our military and declare war on the Democrats of the Federal Government before it’s too late. Before UN forces come to confiscate our guns.

    It is the DUTY of every American to help rid our Government of these corrupt Communist disguised as democrats in Washington, and this includes the entire Obama administration.

    Will the Patrick Henry’s, the Paul Revere’s and the George Washington’s of America, please come forward.

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