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Tipsheet

House GOP Wants Action to Protect Americans from IRS Intrusion

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Republican members of the House are cautiously hopeful that Democrat plans for tens of thousands more IRS agents and surveillance of Americans' bank accounts won't stay in the current budget bill, but they say they'll need a majority and a gavel change to enact protections for individuals and financial institutions because Democrats won't back down from their intent to gain access to personal finances. 

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In a roundtable hosted by House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Thursday morning in the Capitol — just a few steps away from where President Biden was concurrently meeting with Democrats trying to move his budget and infrastructure bills forward — Republican members slammed the proposed intrusion into Americans' bank accounts and personal finances.

Saying the plan was about Democrats' mistrust of the American people, Leader McCarthy suggested that more border security personnel be hired and trained instead of the 87,000 IRS agents Democrats want hired to enforce their proposed oversight. 

Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA) shared the sentiment that the Democrats' plan was "about control" over the American people with what Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) called "unprecedented power" and tactics Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) said are "so dirty." More than just "snooping," Emmer added, the IRS oversight proposal is "literally spying." He also raised concerns about the security of data on Americans' bank transactions that would be gathered by the IRS, noting there are millions of cyberattacks — some successful — launched on the IRS every year.

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Sitting beneath a painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) said Americans need to "wake up" to what Democrats are trying to do with provisions like the IRS surveillance plan, and said the escalating intrusions into individuals' lives are the "polar opposite" of America's founding.

While Biden's meeting in the Capitol on Thursday only led to a "framework" for a deal — and not an actual agreement on the content of a bill — Republicans are still preparing to push back on current and future Democrat attempts to use the IRS to surveil Americans' personal finances. 

When Townhall asked members at Thursday's roundtable what could be done to protect Americans and financial institutions from intrusive IRS monitoring, House Republicans pointed to their recently introduced bill called the Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act. 

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Despite having 171 GOP cosponsors and a growing numbers of Democrats facing pressure from constituents to oppose the IRS surveillance plan, Republicans say they will need to wait until they have a majority to move forward with their bill. Rep. Hinson told Townhall she thinks "more than enough" Democrats now oppose the IRS plan "to kill it from being included this time around," but in order to put the Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act to a vote, Republicans "need a change in the gavel to make that happen."

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