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Monday, December 09, 2019

Topping GOP Agenda: Legislate Their Hoaxes -- And Protect The Rich


Charles Rettig

After a tumultuous start to the 118th Congress — which slogged to life after GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) relinquished the bulk of his powers to the extremist right of his conference in exchange for the speaker's gavel — House Republicans are finally ready to get down to business, according to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

Their first order of business, the congresswoman tweeted over the weekend, is to “Repeal the 87,000 IRS Army!”

McCarthy had said pretty much the same in his victory speech as the House’s new Speaker, acquiring the gavel after 15 rounds of voting over four days, the first time in a century a Speaker failed to emerge after one ballot.

“But when we come back,” McCarthy said, as the House adjourned until 5 pm Monday, “We will repeal the funding for 87,000 IRS agents,” drawing thunderous applause from the Republican side of the aisle. “We believe government should be to help you, not go after you,” he added.

The IRS army claim is, of course, a hoax that has been debunked multiple times, according to a fact check by the New York Times. In an op-ed for Yahoo Finance, the former IRS commissioner, Charles P. Rettig, lambasted the “outright false suggestions” surrounding the IRS’s duties.

“The bottom line is this,” Rettig said, “[IRS funds] are absolutely not about increasing audit scrutiny on small business or middle-income Americans.”

He added, “Our investment is designed around a Treasury directive that audit rates do not rise relative to recent years for households making under $400,000.”

The Times noted that of the IRS’s 79,000 employees, only 8,000 peruse tax filings. 13,000 employees are customer support staff, answering phone calls, while 10,000 file mail and transcribe data.

Yet, Greene, McCarthy, and a legion of Republicans have obstinately pushed the false narrative while turning a blind eye to the House Ways and Means Committee’s bombshell report that the IRS had for two years failed to conduct a routine and compulsory audit of former President Trump’s federal tax returns while he was in the White House.

“This is only the beginning of the great things we are going to do,” Greene added in her tweet.

Indeed, recently added to the U.S. House website — and listed as “Text of Bills for the Week of Jan. 9, 2023” — was an array of performative legislation the House Republicans promised to bring to the floor, including bills to “[express] the sense of Congress condemning the recent attacks on pro-life facilities” and “[establish] a Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.”

The latter — led by the House Judiciary Committee, overseen by Trump ally Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) — is a politically-charged House GOP investigation into the law enforcement agencies Republicans once vowed to back, not backstab, unconditionally.

“We will use the power of the purse and the power of the SUBPOENA to get the job done,” tweeted the Judiciary Committee, whose new chairman, Jordan, only months ago refused to cooperate with a congressional investigation and defied a House committee’s subpoena.

Before any of the GOP’s controversial bills can grace the floor for a vote, its caucus must vote on their rules package, which has already seen someopposition within the red caucus.


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