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Public Statements - Congresswoman: Overhaul the Tax Code in Light of IRS Scandal

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By Elizabeth Harrington

Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) said on Tuesday that the tax code should be overhauled in light of the scandals at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

During a Capitol Hill press conference, Jenkins said Congress should take up tax reform not only because of its complexity and cost, but also because of the agency's targeting of conservative groups.

"But I will tell you, nothing has made the case for tax reform any more compelling than the recent scandal at the IRS," she said. "The fact that Americans could be targeted by an arm of the federal government based on their political beliefs, that donors could be targeted, that information could be leaked."

"It's appalling," she said. "And so we're going to have to walk and chew gum at the same time in the House Ways and Means Committee, we're going to have to continue our work on the policy front, to get the economy stoked, and we're going to have to do our oversight so we can restore some trust back in the federal government. I think at the heart of this abuse at the IRS is a government that's too big, too out of control."

"And it's going to be imperative that we get to the bottom of it, find out who's responsible so that it never happens again," Jenkins said.

When asked by if there is support in the House to abolish the tax code, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said the IRS should be "answerable to the people."

"I think if you take a poll, I don't think there are a lot of Americans who are going to be in favor of the IRS," Cantor said. "What we've seen now is evidence of policies that have been promoted by this president, certainly, and others in Washington, that promote an expanded government and an expanded IRS."

"The IRS is even asking for more money to try and fix this problem," he said. "That is not, I think, what most of the Republicans in Congress or most Americans want."

"They want to see a government and an IRS answerable to the people," Cantor said. "And that's what we're trying to accomplish."

Recently, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said the IRS should be "abolished" due to the scandal, whereby groups that supported limited government with names like "patriot" were singled out for greater scrutiny when applying for tax-exempt status. Some applications were delayed for 3 years.

"Mr. President, if your [number one] priority is fixing the problem, let's abolish the IRS and ensure it NEVER happens again!" Cruz wrote on Twitter.

Cantor said President Obama has tried to distance himself from the acts of his own administration.

"I think what we have seen is a president that continues to try to distance himself from his administration," he said. "And that has led me in the past to say that if that is the case and he is disconnected, but certainly he has an obligation and it is his administration, it is the Obama IRS, and we intend to try to get to the truth here as to what exactly happened and get to the facts."

"I mean certainly this is enough of a problem to most Americans," Cantor said. "And here you have a neutral instrument of government like the IRS being used to go after political opponents.

"That's just not what we do in America," he said.

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