Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Morgan Griffith on Holding the IRS Accountable

Great minds think alike...Congressman Griffith's E-Newsletter actually came out first...therefore further down the list of e-mail.

IRS Reform

This week – the week Americans are expected to file their taxes – the House is planning to vote on four measures that would make some initial reforms at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The following paragraphs will elaborate on the bills, though the legislation may not be voted on in this order.
H.R. 1206, the No Hires for Delinquent IRS Act would prevent the IRS from hiring additional employees until the Treasury Secretary confirms that no current IRS employee has a serious delinquent tax debt, meaning that they not only owe money to the IRS but that they also are not paying this debt in a timely manner. If the employee hits a patch of bad luck or circumstances but has a payment plan in place, they are not considered to be seriously delinquent. This bill is a common-sense measure to see the IRS is held to a fair standard and that it practices what it preaches.
H.R. 4885 is the IRS Oversight While Eliminating Spending (OWES) Act. This bill would require that each dollar the IRS raises as a result of their charging filing fees on U.S. taxpayers and other assessment be subjected to Congressional approval prior to it being spent by the IRS. The bill’s sponsor has stated that the IRS collects approximately $400 million each year in so-called User Fees, and that the IRS spends this money without Congressional approval as bureaucrats determine. The bill’s sponsor indicates that in 2015, the IRS allocated merely $49 million in User Fees to help taxpayers. Recall they have limited printed forms for certain tax filings, which we provided to those who could not download.
The Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act (H.R. 3724) would prohibit the IRS from rehiring an employee that has been fired for cause – for certain forms of misconduct. That seems simple enough to me. However, a report indicates the IRS has rehired “hundreds of former employees” who were fired for cause.
Finally, the IRS Bonuses Tied to Measurable Metrics Act (H.R. 4890) would require the IRS to complete a customer service strategy before the agency pays out further bonuses. As the bill’s sponsor says, “The IRS has shown that it will prioritize bonuses over assisting taxpayers.” This cannot be permitted to be so.
Positive Changes
People ask if there is a noticeable difference in the House under Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). My answer to these questions is yes.
For example, on April 14, a Subcommittee of the Rules Committee considered a rules change I have advocated since 2012, a change which would make it easier to cut spending in Washington, D.C.
This is significant because the Rules Committee is often referred to as the “Speaker’s Committee.” I am of the belief that such a hearing would not have occurred prior to Ryan becoming Speaker.
Though this is positive, this doesn’t mean my proposal will pass. Democrats on the Rules Committee appeared to be universally opposed to my suggestion, as was a senior Republican member of the powerful Appropriations Committee. Regardless, I will keep fighting to reform Washington.
EPA Drops Proposed Auto Racing Regulation
In my column of March 14, 2016, I wrote about a proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation that would outlaw the modification of street vehicles into race-only vehicles.
On April 15, after pressure from myself, others on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and racing fans across the country, the EPA announced it is abandoning this proposed regulation. This important development is a victory for common sense and a major American sport and pastime.
Remembering Tommy Baker Jr.
While we regrettably cannot commemorate the passing of every notable resident of the Ninth District, I want to recognize the recent passing of Thomas “Tommy” Baker Jr. of Dublin. Tommy graduated from Radford College and the Washington and Lee School of Law. He served as the town attorney in Dublin, and ran his own law practice there for many years. He also served in the General Assembly from 1990 to 2000.
I went to law school with Tommy and served in the House of Delegates with him. He was a fun-loving practical joker, and kept the entire House entertained. I am saddened by his passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his parents, his son Jefferson, and the rest of his family
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives."