During today's Appropriations Committee hearing, U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) called on the committee to follow the legal spending limits currently in place. He also offered an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations legislation designed to promote accountability and reform at the Internal Revenue Service.
"The IRS shattered its credibility and must take steps to try to regain the public trust," Johanns said. "My amendment is straightforward and the bipartisan support it received sends the clear message that it is time for officials at the IRS to take meaningful, concrete steps to clean up their act."
Johanns' amendment would reduce IRS funds by more than $500 million until the agency fully implements the reforms recommended by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration after its investigation concluded IRS was targeting tax exempt entities based on political beliefs. This amendment received bipartisan support, but was not adopted because the final tally was a 15-15 tie.
Johanns repeated his call for the Appropriations Committee to follow the spending caps signed into law last Congress. Johanns said earlier this year that following these levels throughout the appropriations process was the only responsible way for Congress to deal with the sequester.
"We could use this process to thoughtfully reduce spending, but instead of seizing the opportunity, this committee is washing its hands of the hard work," Johanns said of the increased spending in the bill. "I can't tell you how disappointing that is to me, and more importantly, how disappointing it is to the American people.
"Ignoring these caps, as the majority is insisting on doing, sets the stage for another round of sequester cuts."