House Holds ‘Stop Government Abuse Week’

Republicans introduce bills to curb the IRS, increase accountability in government spending

February 24, 2014

House Republicans will push a series of bills this week in an effort to curb abuse and increase transparency in the federal government.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) sent a memo to Republican members on Friday, outlining the GOP’s legislative agenda for "Stop Government Abuse Week."

"The Obama Administration continues to abuse its power through selective enforcement of the laws and the use of executive actions to bypass Congress," Cantor said in a statement.

"The House will consider another package of bills to address government abuse that is threatening people’s liberty and their hard-earned paychecks," he said. "The House will act to hold the Obama Administration accountable for its continual overreach. The American people expect and deserve better from their government."

The first of 14 bills the House will vote on is the "STOP Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act," legislation that would prevent the tax agency from finalizing regulations to restrict political activity of nonprofit groups.

"As if the IRS targeting conservatives because of their political beliefs wasn't bad enough, now Obama's IRS is attempting to move forward with regulations that, as the Ways and Means Committee has uncovered, appear to be reverse-engineered to silence conservative organizations," the memo said.

The bill’s author, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.), said the proposed rules would "essentially remove conservative groups from the public square." The bill would prevent the Obama administration from closing the comment period on the regulation.

The House will also move forward with two bills presented by Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) to curb the power of the IRS.

The "Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act" (H.R. 2530) would limit the time a person could be subjected to an audit to one year, and the "Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act" (H.R. 2531) would prevent the agency from asking about an individual’s religious, political, or social beliefs.

House Republicans will tackle other forms of government abuse throughout the week, including bills that address transparency and accountability of government spending.

"Government abuse takes many other forms as well, from unfunded mandates, to abuse of eminent domain, to wasteful spending, to ridiculous regulations that restrict our freedom," the memo said. "The House will consider a series of bills next week designed to address these abuses."

Rep. James Lankford’s (R., Okla.) "Taxpayers’ Right to Know Act" (H.R. 1423) will also be considered. The bill, which has been championed by retiring Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) for years, would hold government accountable for how it spends taxpayer money, requiring a report card from every federal agency documenting each of its programs and associated costs.

The "Unfunded Mandates Information and Transparency Act" (H.R. 899), introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.), would require agencies to report the annual costs of proposed regulations on the economy.

H.R. 1211, proposed by Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrel Issa (R., Calif.), would reform the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process, requiring federal agencies to treat FOIA requests with a "presumption of openness, placing the burden on them to justify withholding information."

Another bill (H.R. 3308) would require the executive branch to attach a disclaimer to any mailer, brochure, television, or radio ad that is paid for by the taxpayers.

Cantor said the legislative agenda will "increase transparency and accountability in spending of taxpayer dollars and the impact of federal mandates."

"We will continue the fight to put our citizens first and to restore the American people’s trust in our government and faith in our economy," he said.