Don’t Dems Want to Rein in the IRS?

President Obama and the Democrats hope the public has forgotten about the IRS scandal.

By + More

Washington has been consumed by the Internal Revenue Service scandal of targeting conservative groups and mismanaging taxpayer dollars. There's never been any love lost between Americans and the IRS, but the outrageous actions and the stonewalling by the agency reached new lows.

Obama quickly condemned the actions taken by the IRS, but seemed to let go of the subject. Most Americans think that the White House supervises the IRS and so to continue to publicly seek a resolution to this problem would be political poisonous the president. Hoping that voters are losing their attention on the issue, President Obama has tried to change the subject by going a promotional tour of jobs and the economy without any new policy proposals.

When it comes to taxpayers, beware to the politicians or organizations that mismanage their money. Does anyone remember the Pentagon's $600 toilet seats or the $400 hammers? How about the bad-check writing scandal committed by Members of Congress in the 1990s? The House banking scandal broke in early 1992, when it was revealed that the United States House of Representatives allowed members to overdraw their House checking accounts without risk of being penalized by the House bank. The corruption helped sew the seeds of discontent among voters who decided it was time for a change in the leadership of the legislative branch.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Congress.]

Consider the overreach by the Internal Revenue Service with its actions. We have absolutely no idea how out of control it will be get scrutinizing and penalizing individuals and small businesses when Obamacare is fully implemented.

So it was a wise idea for House Republicans to create a "Stop Government Abuse" week. Without the media loudspeaker owned the White House, creating these types of events is a great attempt to try and punch a message through to voters. So this week, the House of Representatives will be voting to put on the floor a number of bills that tackle government abuse:

  • Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care – H.R. 2009, authored by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), prevents the IRS from implementing any portion of Obamacare. 
    • The Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act – H.R. 367, the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, authored by Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., requires congressional approval of regulations that cost over $100 million. 
      • Citizen Empowerment Act – H.R. 2711, authored by Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., creates an affirmative right for individuals to record their meetings and telephone exchanges with federal regulatory officials engaged in enforcement activities and requires that individuals be notified of such right. 
        • Government Employee Accountability Act – H.R. 2579, authored by Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., gives agencies the option to place employees on unpaid leave when they are under investigation for certain serious offenses.
          • Government Customer Service Improvement Act – H.R. 1660, sponsored by Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, requires agencies to adopt customer service standards and to use customer service feedback in agency and personnel reviews.
            • Government Spending Accountability Act – H.R. 313, sponsored by Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, increases transparency with respect to taxpayer funded conferences, places limits on federal conferences, and requires agency head approval for the most expensive conferences.
              • Common Sense in Compensation Act – H.R. 1541, sponsored by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., would not only place limits on the size of bonuses but also limit the number of senior agency employees who may receive bonuses in any given year.
                • Stop Targeting Our Politics IRS Act – H.R. 2565, sponsored by Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, would provide for the termination of employment of IRS employees who take official actions for political purposes.
                  • Stop Playing on Citizen's Cash Act – H.R. 2533, sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., imposes a moratorium on IRS conferences until the inspector general's recommendations are implemented.
                    • The Taxpayer Bill of Rights – H.R. 2768, also sponsored by Roskam, would specify the rights that citizens have when dealing with the IRS, including rights to privacy and confidentiality.
                    • [See a collection of editorial cartoons on the IRS Scandal.]

                      It is highly unlikely that the Senate Democratic leadership will allow any of these bills to come forward for a vote. The legislation would likely pass but Senate leaders will work to protect the administration by preventing that. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will likely call this simply campaign politics. However, if the government abuse by the IRS continues, I wouldn't want to be a Senate Democrat defending myself back home about why there wasn't a vote to rein this government agency back in line.

                      • Read Pat Garofalo: Obama's Sadly Appropriate Amazon Speech
                      • Read Jamie Stiehm: Hillary Clinton Speaks in Washington to New Fulbright-Clinton Fellows
                      • Check out U.S. News Weekly, an insider's guide to politics and policy