By Lawrence Wilson
House Republicans used Tax Day as an occasion to lambast President Joe Biden’s administration’s tax policies and budget proposal—and highlight bills aimed at tax reform.
“This year, tax day has taken on a whole new meaning for working families because of the threat they’re facing from President Biden’s supercharged IRS and all of his proposed tax increases.
“If President Biden gets his way we will see an increase of $4.7-trillion-worth of tax increases, $1.8 trillion directly on small businesses,” said Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.), chair of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Smith and six other Republicans made remarks at an April 18 press conference at the Capitol, organized by the conservative advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform.
“Trillions in new spending paired with massive tax hikes on hard-working Americans has been the Democrats’ economic mantra over the past two years.
In just 20 months, these reckless spending policies added $4.8 trillion to the federal deficit through double-digit inflation and massive tax hikes,” said House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.)
“To make matters worse, Biden is now doubling down on his detrimental tax-and-spend agenda by proposing the biggest tax hike to date, $4.7 trillion in new taxes for his 2024 budget,” Emmer said.
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) criticized the administration’s priorities for using the $80 billion in funding granted to the Internal Revenue Service through the American Rescue Plan Act.
“We know … the president’s priorities of growing the IRS, his solution is with more audits and so-called compliance without the customer service.
“We have strategized here to put customer service as the priority. That’s been rejected. I know the president, he has a different idea,” the Nebraska congressman said.
Republicans touted two measures aimed at making life easier for taxpayers. The Simplify, Don’t Amplify the IRS Act (HR 2556), would improve and promote transparency, efficiency, and operational integrity at the agency.
The Saving Gig Economy Taxpayers Act (HR 3425), would raise the threshold for reporting occasional income to $20,000 or 200 transactions.
Earlier in the day, Biden criticized Republicans for planning to cut government programs that help low-income people, veterans, and seniors, while leaving Trump-era tax cuts in place.
“Instead of investing in kids and cutting taxes for families with children, MAGA Republicans in Congress support more than $3 trillion in tax cuts and giveaways over the next 10 years for those at the very top of the income agenda,” Biden said in televised remarks at the White House.
The IRS is currently staffed at about the same level as it was in 1970, when the U.S. population was about 203.4 million people, according to Deputy Secretary of the Treasurer Wally Adeyemo.
The population in 2020 was 331.4 million, an increase of 63 percent.
The agency’s priorities for using the $80 billion in funding are increasing the collection of taxes owed by the top 1 percent of wage earners, improving customer service, and modernizing the agency with updated equipment, Adeyemo said at an April 17 tax forum.
Republican representatives Jody Arrington (Texas), Kevin Hern (Okla.), Carol Miller (W.Va.), and Diana Harshbarger (Tenn.) also delivered remarks.