- Conservative groups are escalating their opposition to Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure deal.
- They’re taking aim at provisions to increase IRS funding after years of GOP-led budget cuts.
- They’re sending a letter to GOP leaders like McConnell, which can be read below.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Prominent conservative groups are gearing up to pressure Republicans to oppose President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure deal, blasting it as a “basic betrayal of conservative values.”
The groups leading the effort include FreedomWorks, the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, the Conservative Action Project, and the Leadership Institute.
They are sending a letter to GOP congressional leaders including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Rep. Steve Scalise, the second-ranked Republican in the House. Insider obtained a copy of the letter, which was first reported by The Washington Post.
Stephen Moore, one of the signatories, assailed the extra IRS funding in the bipartisan infrastructure deal. “The Republicans should be for less spending on the IRS, not more,” Moore said in an interview.
According to Moore, who was previously nominated by President Donald Trump to the
before withdrawing his name, “It would be a total betrayal to fund the IRS with more money.”
Both Democrats and Republicans support strengthening the IRS after years of GOP-led budget cuts that weakened the agency’s basic ability to collect taxes. Many cite a persistent tax gap, or the gulf between taxes owed and collected. Charles Rettig, the agency’s commissioner, has said the figure could amount to over $1 trillion per year.
A bombshell ProPublica report also revealed the extent to which America’s wealthiest are legally able to pay very little in taxes. It kickstarted discussions of potential tax reform, and prompted five former treasury secretaries to write a New York Times opinion piece on the necessity of bolstering the IRS.
Read the letter below:
Dear Conservative Member of Congress:
As conservative leaders, we are troubled that Republicans fell into the Democratic trap on an infrastructure spending bill. The $1.2 Trillion “bipartisan” package that was announced last week was a betrayal of basic conservative values of fiscal responsibility. The bill mostly funds the Green New Deal and expensive and underused mass transit systems, not roads, bridges, and airports.
With the Covid crisis over, the economy recovering, and the national debt crashing toward $30 trillion, Congress should be aggressively CUTTING spending right now – not adding to the record size and scope of government.
The good news is that Biden announced his “double cross” of Republicans only hours after the handshake deal was done. The true intentions of this White House and the progressives who are running Congress are now transparent to everyone. This budget-busting bill is only the gateway to another $2 trillion spending bill and a $3 trillion tax hike.
It is our hope that this classic bait and switch will allow Republicans to push the reset button.
Any infrastructure deal with the Democrats must contain four preconditions for any Republican agreement:
- Every dollar of new spending must be paid for by reprogramming some $2 trillion of federal funds already approved by Congress this year.
- Any infrastructure bill MUST include authorization of the Keystone XL Pipeline authorization. There is no infrastructure more urgently needed today than pipelines to transport our energy resources across the U.S. and the world. This project costs taxpayers nothing.
- No money for Green New Deal projects. Every penny must be for real infrastructure: roads, bridges, pipelines, and airports.
- No additional funding for the Internal Revenue Service, especially given its multiple scandals over the past decade. We have not forgotten about Lois Lerner’s tactics of using IRS enforcement to harass conservative groups and donors. Republicans in Congress shouldn’t either.
Republicans should not return to the negotiating table unless and until these conditions are met.
Stephen Moore, Committee to Unleash Prosperity
Bill Walton, Conservative Action Project
Morton Blackwell, Leadership Institute
Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Adam Brandon, Freedomworks
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