Huge Senate Majority Votes Down Rand Paul’s Attempt To Strip Funding From IRS

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Republicans really want to slash funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). (At least, certain prominent voices from their party want to accomplish such aims.)

This week in the Senate, members considered and rejected a proposed amendment to underlying legislation from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that he explained would have undone tens of millions of dollars in planned funding for the agency. “My amendment begins the path toward fiscal health by saving the taxpayers $30 billion. My amendment also cuts $25 billion that the Biden administration wants to use to sic the IRS on taxpayers to squeeze them for even more money. That is a reduction of $55 billion for what the government is on track to spend,” Paul said.

Though that’s the aggressive characterization of IRS operations that these Republicans have often used, the reality is that agency enforcement efforts stand to bring in large sums from high-earners, and cutting IRS funding could actually increase financial hurdles for the government because of an associated decrease in inflows of tax payments. Ultimately, a large majority in the Senate — reaching 74 members in total — voted against Paul’s amendment, which got 23 votes in favor from a coalition including prominent right-wingers like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

The amendment, as Paul mentioned, targeted tens of millions of dollars planned for government operations outside the IRS in addition to that agency, and speaking on the Senate floor, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) outlined the stakes.

“This amendment that is being offered would slash funding supported unanimously in our committee in the Ag and T-HUD bills–kicking women and kids off of WIC or gutting funding for our farmers and agricultural research, making our food supplies less safe; laying off air traffic controllers, leading to flight delays and cancellations; booting people from their homes as housing assistance would be cut off; eliminating resources for communities to invest in important local infrastructure needs and a lot more,” Murray told the Senate. The impacts would have mirrored those threatened by a failed GOP proposal in the House that pushed 30 percent cuts in spending across much of the government without clear follow-up plans for ensuring those who relied on affected services weren’t left struggling.