A $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill will exclude proposed tougher tax enforcement, a Republican from Ohio said.
Sen. Rob Portman is deeply concerned about his colleagues sacrificing a major Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revenue-raising measure, to rescue a bipartisan deal with the Democratic Party.
Portman believes it is important to hold suspected tax evaders to account. He vowed to add the removed enforcement provision to a different budget “reconciliation” bill, which aims to lift taxes to pay for trillions of dollars in extra federal spending.
However, President Joe Biden refuses to renegotiate infrastructure bill items in the separate reconciliation package according to the One America News Network.
Biden previously planned to invest $80 billion in IRS technology and enforcement over the next decade to improve tax collections by about $700 billion. Democratic senators estimated the provision originally included the infrastructure plan would have generated about $100 billion towards the greater target.
However, senators pulled the IRS provision. Different aspects of the bill are being finalized with the White House before going to a crucial procedural vote on July 21, according to Reuters.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer confirmed a “cloture” vote will be held to meet the necessary 60-vote threshold. If successful, this will end debate and let the infrastructure measure move forward to a final vote.
“In terms of IRS reform, or [the] IRS tax gap–which is what was originally in the proposal–that will no longer be in our proposal,” Portman said in a video shared on YouTube. “It will be in the larger reconciliation bill, we are told.”
The Republican blames party politics for postponing the IRS tax provision.
“That is the two tracks here, we have the infrastructure bill separately from the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that is a strictly partisan exercise,” he can be heard saying. “More typical of Washington, frankly. Ours is the one that is unusual.”
He revealed Republican “pushback” against the IRS provision began after senators discovered the Democrats already planned to include a larger IRS enforcement proposal in the reconciliation bill.
Democrats want to pass the reconciliation plan without GOP support under budget rules that let them move with a simple majority, which forces them to rely on Vice President Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote.
“That created quite a problem,” Portman said, adding Republicans thought they had an agreement on IRS enforcement in the infrastructure plan.
Further talks are planned to work out exactly how the bill is funded. Negotiators do not have a viable bill to examine yet, and will not be rushed into any deadline.
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) does not know whether the GOP will be able to vote on the procedural motion on July 21.
The senator believes the IRS package could move forward with the Democrats’s larger reconciliation bill, if the necessary tax measures to pay for it are found.
The June 21 decider requires 60 votes in the Senate, meaning at least 10 Republicans will need to support the bill. This scenario assumes all Democrats will vote yes.
However, Cassidy cannot confirm whether he will support the same infrastructure bill he helped negotiate.
“How can I vote for cloture when the bill is not written?” he said according to Fox News’s “Fox News Sunday“. “Unless Sen. Schumer does not want this to happen, you need a little more time to get it right.”
Nevertheless, Schumer insists the bipartisan group discussing the infrastructure plan has “no reason” not to reach a deal by June 21.