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Increasing funding for the IRS to potentially hire tens of thousands of new agents could give a big boost to the union that represents Treasury Department employees, a group that is active in politics and donates almost exclusively to Democratic politicians.
The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), which claims to represent about 70,000 IRS employees, has “strongly supported” the climate and tax bill called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which could allow the federal tax agency to hire nearly 87,000 employees in the next Decade. Many of the new employees could join the union, which, through a political action committee, gives almost 100% of its funding to Democratic politicians and committees.
NTEU’s PAC has donated mostly to Democratic politicians through its Political Action Committee in previous cycles. According to OpenSecrets, the PAC donated approximately $590,000 to the union to help Democrats bidding for a 2020 election, compared to $18,000 donated to Republicans.
In the 2022 cycle so far, the NTEU PAC has lost over $200,000 in support of 100 House and 10th Senate Democrats and several Democratic committees, and only $2,500 in support of two House Republicans, OpenSecrets shows .
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The union has given $30,000 to the Democratic National Committee in both the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, as well as large donations to other Democratic campaign committees. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-Maine, received $10,000 from the PAC in the current cycle. Rep. David McKinley, RW.Va., and Maria Salazar, R-Fla., are the only Republicans to receive NTEU PAC funding this cycle.
“Our union’s political action committee, which accepts only voluntary donations from members and is not funded by union dues, has a policy of supporting candidates who support federal employees and their ability to provide services. In the past, the PAC has attended Democrat, Republican and independent candidates in races across the country,” NTEU national president Tony Reardon said in a statement shared with Fox News Digital.
The NTEU claims that while the $80 billion proposed in the Anti-Inflation Act for the IRS could be used to hire the nearly 87,000 employees the administration plans to hire over the next decade, about 50,000 of those employees will replace retired government employees. The union also said an increase in the workforce is needed to rebuild the IRS after a decade of budget cuts and improve technology and services to taxpayers as a federal revenue agency.
“NTEU’s decision to support the 10-year, $80 billion investment in the IRS, as embodied in the Inflation Reduction Act, is based solely on the plan’s ability to rebuild the agency and the public servants who work there provide the resources they need to earn IRS the most efficient and effective tax administration system in the world,” Reardon said.
The NTEU PAC may not make political donations with union dues, but instead distributes funds donated by members in addition to their dues.
The IRS funding in the Inflation Reduction Act is a crucial part of the bill’s overall goal of increasing climate initiatives and healthcare spending while reducing the deficit. The bill claims it can generate $740 billion in part from increased IRS enforcement, while nearly $400 billion will be spent on climate initiatives.
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The Biden administration claims that IRS funding is essential to continue operations as the agency’s budget has been eroded over the past decade. “Today, the IRS has fewer auditors than it has since World War II,” the Treasury Department said in a report last year as it proposed its plan to hire thousands of new agents and employees.
The IRS’s audit rate has fallen nearly 50% over the past decade, particularly in oversight of people making more than $1 million annually, according to the Treasury Department, which said in the report that higher funding is needed to prosecute tax evaders. The Congressional Budget Office, which analyzed similar proposed funding increases to the IRS last year, found that additional staff would mean audit rates “would rise for all taxpayers, but higher-income taxpayers would see the largest increase.”
Republicans blew up the inflation-reducing bill announced in late July as a backroom agreement between Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, saying it would increase the tax burden on Americans and do nothing to reduce inflation.
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Senate Minority Whip John Thune, RS.C., claimed on Fox News Tuesday that most of the new IRS employees would not be customer service agents. “Most of them will harass middle-income taxpayers,” Thune said.
The bill passed the Senate in a partyline vote on Sunday and will go to the House of Representatives for approval later this week.