As the House considers legislation to curb government abuse this week, NTU urges all Representatives to vote “YES” on the following bills. These bills would help prevent the over-extension of government power and increase accountability.
“YES” votes on the following bills will be considered the pro-taxpayer position:
H.R. 2009: Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act: This bill, authored by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), would prevent the IRS from implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). As increasing portions of PPACA prove to be unwieldy or unworkable, a government agency with a troubling track record shouldn’t have an outsized role in regulating the private activities of individuals.
H.R. 367: Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act: Regulations put out by agencies each year pile up and take an economic toll on U.S. industries and individual families. This bill, authored by Rep. Todd Young (R-IN), would increase Congressional oversight and accountability surrounding federal regulations, which all too often stifle economic growth, by requiring Congressional approval for any new regulations that cost over $100 million.
H.R. 2711: Citizen Empowerment Act: This bill, authored by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), would give citizens greater security when dealing with agencies by allowing and notifying them of the right to record phone conversations and in-person meetings conducted with federal regulatory officials. Taxpayers currently have the right to make a sound recording of audit proceedings with the IRS; extending this accountability tool across the broader federal bureaucracy is common sense.
H.R. 2579: Government Employee Accountability Act: This bill, authored by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), would address the lack of disciplinary power in the federal workforce by providing agencies with the option to place senior employees under investigation for serious offenses on unpaid leave. H.R. 2579 would preserve an employee’s due process rights while at the same time availing agencies of an essential mechanism to save taxpayers money.
H.R. 1660: Government Customer Service Improvement Act: This bill, sponsored by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), would direct the Office of Management and Budget to develop and use customer service standards and reviews in personnel evaluations across all government agencies. Given that federal employees are employed by and accountable to taxpayers, a standard level of service should be expected and would help to ensure responsible use of taxpayer dollars.
H.R. 1541: Common Sense in Compensation Act: This bill, sponsored by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), would place limits on the size of government bonuses and cap the number of such bonuses that could be handed out in a given year. Doing so would help to more properly target these taxpayer-funded benefits and direct taxpayer dollars to programs, not senior staff.
H.R. 2565, H.R. 2768, H.R. 2769, and H.R. 313: Taxpayer Rights, IRS and Federal Agency Reforms: These bills would help to increase accountability at the Internal Revenue Service and other agencies, as well as protect taxpayers from abuses. The Stop Targeting Our Politics IRS Act, H.R. 2565 sponsored by Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH), would include IRS employee actions motivated by personal or political gain as specific grounds for termination, while the Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act of 2013, H.R. 2768 sponsored by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), would clarify the IRS Commissioner’s duty to make certain that agency employees fulfill their obligation to uphold certain taxpayer service and rights standards.
The Stop Playing on Citizen’s Cash Act, H.R. 2769 from Rep. Roskam, would halt IRS conferences pending the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s certification that previous managerial reform recommendations regarding meetings have been implemented. H.R. 313, the Government Spending Accountability Act sponsored by Rep. Farenthold (R-TX), also would apply commonsense spending caps and increased transparency regarding taxpayer-funded conferences across government agencies.
As Executive Branch power has grown, government agencies are playing an increasingly intrusive role that creates a heavy burden on the prosperity and personal liberties of taxpayers. Our sprawling bureaucracy is comprised of unelected officials who are not accountable to the people who they serve and who pay their salaries. The preceding bills would all improve the accountability and fiscal responsibility that government agencies owe to taxpayers. “Stop Government Abuse Week” is an important opportunity to reduce the heavy hand of government and empower taxpayers.
Roll call votes on the above government abuse prevention bills will be included in our annual Rating of Congress