The House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved Rep. Jim Renacci’s (OH-16) Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act. This legislation authorizes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to terminate employees who target individuals or groups based on their political beliefs. Specifically, it adds political targeting to the list of fireable offenses, or “10 Deadly Sins,” created by the 1998 IRS Restructuring and Reform Act.
“When the people in Ohio’s 16th District and across the country learned nearly two years ago that the IRS targeted political groups for extra scrutiny, they were outraged – and rightly so. There is no room for political targeting in our democracy,” said Renacci. “That is why I introduced the Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act. I am pleased that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle came together to approve this commonsense legislation. It provides the accountability the American people expect and deserve, and is a step in the right direction to restoring a government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
Prior to its passage, Renacci spoke in support of the Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act today on the House floor. You may click here or below to view the video.
[Click here or on the above image to view the video]
Floor Speech Text:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge approval of H.R. 709, the Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act.
“This bipartisan legislation has over 50 cosponsors, and passed by voice vote in the previous Congress.
“I think the overwhelming support for this legislation shows that the vast majority of Members, regardless of their party affiliation, believe the IRS should be above politics.
“Congress has already acted to create a list of fireable offenses at the IRS.
“In 1998, the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act passed by a vote of 402 to 8.
“It sought to bring accountability to the IRS by allowing for the immediate termination of IRS employees who engage in the so-called ‘10 Deadly Sins’ against taxpayers.
“Many of the Members in Congress today supported those reforms back then.
“Unfortunately, while that legislation covers many offenses, it did not include political targeting.
“I have no doubt this was a simple oversight.
“This is not a partisan issue.
“I cannot imagine any Member would support a process for removing an employee for bad behavior, but somehow not consider political targeting to be a bad enough behavior.
“It is absolutely unacceptable for a government official to consider the political leanings of any taxpayer when conducting official business.
“If a federal employee engages in political targeting, that employee should be fired. It’s that simple.
“My legislation will make sure of it.
“It specifically spells out that any IRS employee, regardless of political affiliation, who targets a taxpayer for political purposes will be immediately relieved of his or her duties.
“If you work for the IRS, you cannot target taxpayers for political purposes.
“There should be no controversy in that.
“This legislation does not change any of the procedures for removing an IRS employee.
“It just adds political targeting to the list of “10 Deadly Sins” already in existence.
“Though it’s been nearly two years since we learned that the IRS targeted individuals based on their political beliefs, the American public’s lack of trust in the federal agency remains—and rightly so.
“Political targeting contradicts the very principles this country was founded upon, and there is no room for it in our democracy.
“It will not be tolerated.
“The IRS needs this legislation.
“The entire federal government needs this legislation.
“And most importantly, the American people need this legislation.
“They need to know that they will not be targeted by their government for political purposes.
“They need to know that those who are entrusted with the vast power of the federal government are going to act in a responsible and professional manner. Or be held accountable if they don’t.
“They need to know their government is accountable to them, and not the other way around.
“I urge all Members to support this commonsense legislation.
“Thank you Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.”