By Bernie Becker
A senior Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee is criticizing the IRS for its plans to furlough employees, saying the agency and the White House wanted to "inflict the maximum amount of pain."
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) blasted the IRS's plan to shut down on five separate days over the next four months, instead of staggering furlough days more evenly.
"When small business owners have questions about payroll taxes or a family is wondering where their refund check is, someone needs to be on the other end of the telephone to answer those questions," Brady said. "Sadly, this is more political stunting from this White House."
The IRS recently informed employees that furloughs occur on May 24, June 14, July 5, July 22 and August 30, a list which includes several days clustered around federal holidays. The furloughs will mean that the IRS's public operations, including taxpayer assistance centers and phone lines, will be closed.
Brady's statement, and the IRS announcement, comes around the same time that a host of federal agencies are disclosing their own furlough plans. The White House, for instance, said Monday that furloughs were unavoidable at the Federal Aviation Administration, an outcome which could lead to delayed flights.
Republicans have generally said that the Obama administration is trying to score political points, and using the flight delays as part of their case to roll back the $85 billion in sequester cuts.