The Republican majority in the House of Representatives passed a bill on Monday that would rescind $72 billion in spending on 87,000 new IRS agents. This bill called the Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act, passed the lower chamber in a 221-to-210 vote along party lines. The bill was announced by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) during his first address as speaker early Saturday morning, according to a report by the New York Times on January 9, 2023.
The bill requires the IRS to spend any new funds on customer service and IT improvements rather than employing agents, auditors, and other employees. Republicans argue that these new IRS agents would target low- and middle-class Americans rather than wealthy individuals and corporations. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) and Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Calif.). The bill will now be sent to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it is unlikely to be passed.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), speaker emeritus of the House, criticized the vote, calling it “shameful but not surprising.” Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris argue that the bill would let wealthy tax cheats off the hook and increase the deficit. According to Of The Press’s report on January 10, 2023, the Biden administration estimates that the bill would increase the deficit by nearly $115 billion over 10 years, citing an increase in tax fraud and avoidance.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced the passing of this bill as the first legislative move of the new Republican majority, stating that government should work for the people and not against them. He claimed this was a promise made and kept by the new Republican Majority.