Noem Scolds IRS Commissioner for Following Law, Making Due with GOP Budget Strangulation

In the Psychological Projection Department, Congresswoman Kristi Noem upbraided IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a hearing yesterday thus:

Rep. Kristi Noem her war on taxpayers onto the IRS, 2015.04.22.
Rep. Kristi Noem her war on taxpayers onto the IRS, 2015.04.22.

A new staff report by Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee criticized the agency’s spending priorities. The report said the IRS diverted $134 million in user fees that had been spent on customer service last year to other areas this year.

“It looks to me like you’re purposely harming taxpayers,” Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota told Koskinen at a hearing Wednesday [Stephen Ohlemacher, “Hello? Hello? 8 Million Calls to IRS Went Unanswered as Money Cut from Taxpayer Services,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2015.04.22].

Now, Kristi, we’ve had this conversation. The IRS has had to divert resources from tax collection and customer service because of the budget cuts that you, Senator Thune, and the GOP have forced onto the IRS in your vindictive determination to sabotage the Affordable Care Act. Commissioner Koskinen is just trying to follow the law and do his job with the scraps you throw his way:

“Customer service, both on the phone and in person has been far worse than anyone would want,” Koskinen told the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. “It’s simply a matter of not having enough people to answer the phones and provide service at our walk-in sites as a result of cuts to our budget.”

Republicans in Congress adamantly oppose Obama’s health law, so some have been working to starve the IRS of funds just as its role in implementing the law ramps up.

It won’t work, Koskinen said. The IRS is required by law to help implement the health program and the foreign reporting law, leaving the agency with few other places to cut. He said the agency requested a total of $600 million over the past two years for computer upgrades to deal with the new laws.

“In both years the Congress gave us zero dollars so we had no choice but to look elsewhere,” Koskinen said. “We funded the statute that we are required to implement” [Ohlemacher, 2015.04.22].

Instead of scolding the IRS for making the best of a situation you’ve made harder, maybe you should recognize that you’re the one purposely making life harder for taxpayers and tax collectors. Why not take a memo from Commissioner Koskinen and simply try doing your job?

By the way, you are flying back from Washington this weekend, right, Kristi? On our dime?

11 Responses to Noem Scolds IRS Commissioner for Following Law, Making Due with GOP Budget Strangulation

  1. larry kurtz

    Shorter Cory: Memo Instead, Laws Flying

  2. mike from iowa

    Sounds like embassy security cuts part deaux.

  3. You knew this was going to happen. You have to admire Koskinen for not ripping into Noem. But it had be hard to listen to that stupidity and not get mad or even harder to keep from laughing.


  5. why do republican leaders try so hard to push fake issues? leadership wants to firm up the base so they put a clueless small state legislator forward as a schill for an issue. training, she won’t refuse, she has a vested interest???

  6. Deb Geelsdottir

    Her comment is simply repulsive. She is one of the ones who wounded the IRS, then she blames them for being hurt.

  7. Defunding the IRS and then complaining when they can’t do their job is akin to defunding your local fire department and bitching when your house burns to the ground. Noem is an idiot.

  8. Owen, Koskinen can count on the blogosphere to handle that scolding. ;-)

  9. Deb, SDBlue, you’ve got it. Again, we see what happens when we elect people who don’t believe in government to run the government. They think it’s o.k. to damage the government in order to affirm their own own lack of faith in government. We need to get elected officials to stop conducting policy to affirm their own beliefs (like GOED writing ads to affirm the Governor’s belief in low-tax/no-tax policy) and instead conduct policy in the interest of the public.

  10. mike from iowa

    Noem is worse than an idiot. She,and all wingnuts that play these games, are a real and growing threat to ‘murrica. They prove,once again,their partisan pranks are a higher priority than governing this nation.

  11. barry freed

    I called the IRS on April 14, (what???, I still had 24 hours!) Computer voice said I would wait 7 minutes, don’t think it was that long, but I had them on speaker phone while I did other things. A gal got on, patiently answered all of my questions about the Exchange form and offered information I had not yet thought to ask about.
    Don’t suppose I can get on Fox or in a SD Congressional sound bite with that story.