Democrats Erupt Over IRS Cuts

Photo by Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash

( – Democrats are expressing intense frustration over Republican efforts to reduce IRS funding and eliminate the agency’s newly established free online tax filing system.

In a statement released on Thursday, House Ways and Means Democrats criticized the Republican-drafted Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) funding bill for fiscal year 2025 as “disastrous.” They accused the GOP of triggering another potential financial debacle similar to last year’s, which resulted in a leading rating agency’s downgrading of U.S. creditworthiness.

“The Republican penchant for appropriations calamities seems to persist. Merely three months after Democrats had to manage from the minority to mitigate the worst outcomes of Republican-induced turmoil and cuts, the GOP has introduced another batch of extreme, impractical proposals,” the statement read.

On Tuesday, Republicans proposed a $2 billion cut to the IRS enforcement budget and set the agency’s overall budget at $10.1 billion for fiscal 2025, marking a $2.2 billion reduction from the 2024 levels, which Ways and Means Democrats labeled as “drastic.”

On Tuesday, Tom Cole (R-OK), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, defended the bill, claiming it “protects taxpayers and restricts the overreach of unelected officials.”

During the FSGG markup on Wednesday, leading appropriator Steny Hoyer (D-MD) expressed his concern over the proposed cuts to IRS funding.

“We should align with President Biden’s request to maintain the IRS budget at fiscal year ‘24 levels, and ideally, provide additional funds to compensate for recent cutbacks to the agency,” Hoyer stated.

Hoyer also criticized the Republican move to scrap the IRS’s Direct File online tax program, recently made permanent by the Treasury Department after a pilot in 12 states. He argued that providing a free and straightforward method for filing taxes is essential if tax payment is mandatory.

“If we are requiring Americans to pay taxes, it should be both free and straightforward for them to do so. I find it perplexing why such a service isn’t available to simplify legal and easy tax compliance,” he remarked.

The Treasury Department staunchly defended its Direct File program, highlighting its critical role in addressing a significant gap in the tax system. A Treasury official cited by The Hill on Tuesday mentioned that Americans typically spend $270 and 13 hours on tax filing, according to the IRS taxpayer burden survey.

Originally, the IRS was granted an $80 billion increase in funding through the Democrats’ 2022 Inflation Reduction Act to be used over the next decade. However, this amount has since been reduced by a quarter due to regular budget cuts stemming from Republican resistance.

Copyright 2024,