Saturday, 15 Jun 2013 — Newsmax
By Sandy Fitzgerald, Newsmax & Stephen Ohlemacher, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Mounting scandals at the Internal Revenue Service are jeopardizing critical funding for the agency as it gears up to play a big role in President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Obama sought a significant budget increase for the IRS for next year, when the agency will start doling out subsidies to help people buy health insurance on state-based exchanges. Congressional Republicans, however, see management problems at the IRS as an opportunity to limit the agency’s funding just as it is trying to put in place the massive new law.
Republicans have been fighting the health care law ever since Democrats enacted it in 2010 without a single GOP vote. Unable to repeal the law, some Republicans hope to starve it by refusing to fund its implementation.
The IRS scandals are giving them a timely excuse.
“I think it’s safe to say they’re not going to get the kind of increase they’re asking for,” said Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that funds the IRS.
“The question is, based on their bad behavior, are they going to end up with less money?” Crenshaw said.
The Internal Revenue Service’s track record will get a lot worse when Obamacare starts this fall, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch warns in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal.
“If the IRS can’t manage an increase of 1,700 applications for tax-exempt status that the agency said spurred its targeting of conservative groups, how will the IRS handle its massive new role in implementing ObamaCare?” the Utah senator, who is the ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee.
“The IRS needs to repair the plane while it’s in flight right now,” said Paul Cherecwich, chairman of the IRS Oversight Board, an independent board within the agency. “Should the current budget environment continue, the IRS will have to continue to have to do more with less while rebuilding taxpayer trust. It has no choice, and it won’t be easy.”
Like many federal agencies, the IRS has seen its budget and workforce shrink since 2010, when the agency was allotted $12.1 billion. This year, the IRS is expected to spend $11.2 billion. Obama’s proposed budget for next year is $12.9 billion — a 14 percent increase over current spending.
About $440 million would go toward implementing the health care law. That would include hiring nearly 2,000 employees, according to an analysis of the president’s budget proposal by the Government Accountability Office.
“We are working to get to the bottom of what happened at the IRS, hold the responsible parties accountable, make sure it cannot happen again, and restore public trust and confidence in the IRS and its ability to administer the tax code fairly and efficiently,” said White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage.
“For years Republicans in Congress have made repeated attempts to stop and slow down the Affordable Care Act. This is just the latest attempt to put up roadblocks to implementing the law,” Brundage said. “The health law is the law of the land, and we are working to implement it well, so millions of Americans will have access to affordable and quality insurance.”
Starting next year, the IRS will administer subsidies to help millions of individuals buy health insurance. The subsidies, technically tax credits because they are administered through the tax code, will help low- and middle-income families buy health insurance through the state-based exchanges.
Under the new law, nearly everyone in the U.S. will be required to have health insurance starting in 2014, or face penalties. The IRS will collect those penalties.
“The American people will see over the next six months the lengths the Republicans will go to destroy the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” said Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington state, a senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee. “I’ve expected it from the first day this (IRS) issue came up.”
“I’m sad about it, it’s awful,” McDermott added. “But sometimes in a democracy people have to learn the hard way, and the American public is going to learn.”
H/T to Dave for the article
Sometimes “people have to learn the hard way”, and we are going to learn? My arrogance detector just busted.(or was that the hypocrisy meter?) I believe McDummy said it all.
The White House says “Access to affordable and quality insurance”? What a joke, when neither of those are really true. It’s outrageously expensive and it drives the quality of care down. (She attempts to substitute “insurance” for care, which doesn’t save her)