If Republicans gain control of the House, they intend to immediately begin oversight of the Internal Revenue Service.
Three Republicans running for chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax and trade policy in the House, each told Fox News Digital that shedding light on the IRS’s conduct and practices is a top priority.
“Democrats have invested $80 billion in the agency to hire 87,000 new IRS agents,” said Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Florida Republican who is the committee’s most senior member. “Everyone is concerned about what these IRS agents will do, and we are determined to hold them accountable.”
Reps. Jason Smith of Missouri and Adrian Smith of Nebraska, the other two GOP lawmakers competing for the top spot on the committee, agreed.
Jason Smith, who is thought to be vying for the top committee spot with Buchanan, argued that even if President Biden’s administration did not pour money into the IRS, it would still be a prime target for oversight.
“The American people are demanding oversight of this administration,” said Jason Smith, the House Budget Committee’s current top Republican. “They’ve seen an IRS that has targeted conservatives over the years. They’ve seen the IRS allow taxpayer information to be leaked for political purposes.”
Republicans will not simply hold hearings and generate media coverage if they gain the majority. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has promised that the first bill Republicans will vote on in January will be one written by Adrian Smith to reduce IRS funding.
“I think it’s critical that we lay this out strategically so that we can get some results through legislation to prevent these bad things from happening again,” Adrian Smith said.
Republicans were quick to point out that the Ways and Means Committee would look into more than just hiring more IRS agents. They stated that the panel would look into why the IRS is still bogged down by a document backlog, which has caused delays in issuing tax refunds.
“People are claiming that the IRS is processing returns on equipment from the 1970s,” said Buchanan. “Such issues are ripe for oversight. The agency’s level of fraud and taxpayer waste is also high.”
Aside from IRS oversight, Buchanan and the two Smiths stated that combating Chinese aggression is a top priority. Republicans want to use the committee’s authority over tax and trade policy to prevent Chinese Communist Party-controlled companies from receiving taxpayer subsidies.
“We need strong oversight of woke corporations that have lost their American identities and have become beholden to China,” Jason Smith said. “These companies continue to demand handouts from American taxpayers as well as preferential tax treatment.”
Republicans hope that strengthening trade laws and changing the tax code to stop rewarding companies with ties to Beijing will garner bipartisan support. Some report that the Democratic leadership in Congress has urged Biden to impose new disclosure guidelines on Chinese investment in the United States.
“We’ve been talking for 20 years about China stealing our technology,” Buchanan said. “I think there’s still a lot of appetite to crack down on China today.”
Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas chose to retire, leaving the top Republican spot on the Ways and Means Committee open. Brady’s presumed successor, Republican Devin Nunes of California, resigned last year to take a job with former President Donald Trump’s media company, throwing lawmakers on the panel for another loop.