The questionably named Inflation Reduction Act — approved by Senate Democrats in a party-line vote Sunday — would more than double the size of the Internal Revenue Service, giving the tax agency more bureaucrats than the Pentagon, State Department, FBI and Border Patrol combined, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
All 50 Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.
Aside from allocating approximately $300 billion in “clean energy” funds and decreasing costs for certain prescription drugs, the bill also would create a 15 percent minimum tax for corporations with an income exceeding $1 billion, NPR reported.
Should the House pass the bill and President Joe Biden sign it into law, it also would provide for the IRS to add roughly 87,000 agents to its payroll, Fox News reported.
“I guarantee you citizens in every one of our states, if you ask them, what do they want, they don’t want 87,000 new IRS agents. And they’re not being created to audit billionaires or giant corporations. They’re being created to audit you,” Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said in a statement Monday in response to the bill.
“The House Ways and Means Committee, the minority, has put out an estimate that under this bill, there will be 1.2 million new audits per year, with over 700,000 of those new audits falling on taxpayers making $75,000 or less,” he added.
Under the new bill, the IRS’ budget would balloon by 600 percent, the Free Beacon reported. The agency, which now has 78,661 employees, would increase its workforce to more than 165,000.
“That would make the IRS one of the largest federal agencies,” the report said. “The Pentagon houses roughly 27,000 employees, according to the Defense Department, while a human resources fact sheet says the State Department employs just over 77,243 staff. The FBI employs approximately 35,000 people, according to the agency’s website, and Customs and Border Protection says it employs 19,536 Border Patrol agents.”
Those numbers add up to just under 159,000 employees in total — fewer than the IRS alone under the Democrats’ legislation.
Proponents of the bill claim the increase in IRS agents would improve tax law enforcement and bring the federal government around $200 billion in additional revenue, the Free Beacon reported.
However, according to data from Statista, without the massive increase in IRS agents, federal tax receipts are expected to reach $5.7 trillion in 2027 — a substantial increase from the $4 trillion in 2021.
In a statement celebrating the Senate’s passage of the bill, Biden claimed the additional IRS funding would make “the wealthiest corporations finally pay their fair share.”
“I ran for President promising to make government work for working families again, and that is what this bill does — period,” Biden said.
The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board called the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of $200 billion in additional revenue “highly speculative,” adding that if the figure is “anywhere close to right IRS auditors will soon be coming after tens of millions of Americans.”
“The federal government isn’t starving for revenue. Congress wants more tax revenue because it can’t control its appetite for spending. That’s why it wants a tax agency in beast mode,” the editorial board said.
Democrats’ supercharged IRS will target lower- and middle- income earners:
“You’re going to see a lot of that revenue to pay for this bill coming from those middle-class working families who can least afford the IRS targeting and harassing them.” –@RepKevinBrady pic.twitter.com/Zz7mPlAdj3
— Ways and Means GOP (@WaysandMeansGOP) August 8, 2022
“Are we actually going after lower-income people or are we going after higher-income people?” a woman named Adrian told the outlet. “My concern is that the lower-income people are losing out on this policy change.”
“Are they going after the rich and famous or are they going after the average person?” another person said.
“The IRS needs to be smaller, not bigger,” a man named Keith told Fox Business, adding that expanding the agency was “ridiculous.”