A nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure spending bill proposal that aims to support the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) crackdown on tax dodgers has been removed from the table as Republicans counter the legislation.
On Sunday, Republican Senator Rob Portman announced the news, saying that fellow Republican lawmakers have pushed back against the bill. The official, who was involved in negotiating the bill, said many of his colleagues disagreed with the need to expand the IRS' reach.
Massive Infrastructure Bill
Over the years, Republicans have accused the agency of unfairly targeting conservatives. Another factor for the decision regarding the IRS provision was Democrats supporting a separate $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill. Lawmakers intend to pass the legislation through the Senate using special budget rules and without Republican support.
Portman said the various factors caused a stir because the $1 trillion proposal was generally agreed to be the bipartisan, negotiated infrastructure package that would get support. The removal of the provision is the latest in a series of signs that show the continued mutual disagreement between Republicans and Democrats in passing bills.
The senator said that lawmakers had planned to meet on Sunday to discuss alternatives to the IRS provision. Initially, a bill that would target taxpayers who dodged income taxes received bipartisan support. However, outside groups later came forward and criticized it as a means for the IRS to invade the privacy of Americans in managing their personal finances, the Associated Press reported.
The change means that United States President Joe Biden's priority of having the IRS collect more taxes from citizens will be delayed. However, some lawmakers are saying that the bill could be passed elsewhere, potentially in a separate spending package supported by Democratic lawmakers.
Lawmakers will have before midweek to replace the IRS provision if they want to complete the infrastructure package. For the past several weeks, Republicans and Democrats have been in negotiations regarding an infrastructure deal that would include funding for roads, bridges, and broadband. But the cost of the bill has been the most difficult for both sides to agree on as they are hesitant to increase the federal deficit.
IRS Spending Bill
In the past few years, the federal deficit has increased to historic levels due to tax cuts and spending amid the coronavirus pandemic. But officials said that the plan would get all of its funding with new revenue, the Wall Street Journal reported.
If it passed, the infrastructure deal would have given a $40 billion budget to the IRS after it has faced decades of cuts. The financial support would have given the agency's enforcement division to collect unpaid taxes. Recently, the IRS conducted research that discovered the annual tax gap between 2011 and 2013 has reached $441 billion. The Treasury Department also conducted an analysis that found the deficit to be as high as $584 billion in 2019.
Last week, the Senate left the infrastructure bill with a lot of uncertainties, despite Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pushing the deal forward on Wednesday by advancing a floor vote, Politico reported.