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Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: samintx
Date: April 09, 2012 01:49PM
The Obama administration is quietly diverting roughly $500 million to the IRS to help implement the president’s healthcare law.

The money is only part of the IRS’s total implementation spending, and it is being provided outside the normal appropriations process. The tax agency is responsible for several key provisions of the new law, including the unpopular individual mandate.

Republican lawmakers have tried to cut off funding to implement the healthcare law, at least until after the Supreme Court decides whether to strike it down. That ruling is expected by June, and oral arguments last week indicated the justices might well overturn at least the individual mandate, if not the whole law.

“While President Obama and his Senate allies continue to spend more tax dollars implementing an unpopular and unworkable law that may very well be struck down as unconstitutional in a matter of months, I’ll continue to stand with the American people who want to repeal this law and replace it with something that will actually address the cost of healthcare,” said Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), who chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee for healthcare and is in a closely contested Senate race this year.

The Obama administration has plowed ahead despite the legal and political challenges.

It has moved aggressively to get important policies in place. And, according to a review of budget documents and figures provided by congressional staff, the administration is also burning through implementation funding provided in the healthcare law.

The law contains dozens of targeted appropriations to implement specific provisions. It also gave the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) a $1 billion implementation fund, to use as it sees fit. Republicans have called it a “slush fund.”

HHS plans to drain the entire fund by September — before the presidential election, and more than a year before most of the healthcare law takes effect. Roughly half of that money will ultimately go to the IRS.

HHS has transferred almost $200 million to the IRS over the past two years and plans to transfer more than $300 million this year, according to figures provided by a congressional aide.

The Government Accountability Office has said the transfers are perfectly legal and consistent with how agencies have used general implementation funds in the past. The $1 billion fund was set aside for “federal” implementation activities, the GAO said, and can therefore be used by any agency — not just HHS, where the money is housed.

Still, significant transfers to the IRS and other agencies leave less money for HHS, and the department needs to draw on the $1 billion fund for some of its biggest tasks.

The healthcare law directs HHS to set up a federal insurance exchange — a new marketplace for individuals and small businesses to buy coverage — in any state that doesn’t establish its own. But it didn’t provide any money for the federal exchange, forcing HHS to cobble together funding by using some of the $1 billion fund and steering money away from other accounts.

The transfers also allow the IRS to make the healthcare law a smaller part of its public budget figures. For example, the tax agency requested $8 million next year to implement the individual mandate, and said the money would not pay for any new employees.

An IRS spokeswoman would not say how much money has been spent so far implementing the individual mandate.

Republicans charged during the legislative debate over healthcare that the IRS would be hiring hundreds of new agents to enforce the mandate and throwing people in jail because they don’t have insurance.

However, the mandate is just one part of the IRS’s responsibilities.

The healthcare law includes a slew of new taxes and fees, some of which are already in effect. The tax agency wants to hire more than 300 new employees next year to cover those tax changes, such as the new fees on drug companies and insurance policies.

The IRS will also administer the most expensive piece of the new law — subsidies to help low-income people pay for insurance, which are structured as tax credits. The agency asked Congress to fund another 537 new employees dedicated to administering the new subsidies.

The Republican-led House last year passed an amendment, 246-182, sponsored by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) that would have prevented the IRS from hiring new personnel or initiating any other measures to mandate that people purchase health insurance. The measure, strongly opposed by the Obama administration, was subsequently dropped from a larger bill that averted a government shutdown.
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Re: Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: August West
Date: April 09, 2012 02:00PM
No, the IRS is not turning into the KGB. That assertion reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the new health care act, as well as, how our government functions.
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Re: Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: billb
Date: April 09, 2012 02:07PM
Gotta respect that commitment to transparency.
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Re: Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: mick e
Date: April 09, 2012 02:08PM
TURNING INTO?????????




Unpaid Social Liaison
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Re: Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: April 09, 2012 02:24PM
Isn't lifting the entire text of an article and posting it as your own content considered stealing?



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Re: Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: decay
Date: April 09, 2012 03:14PM
da, comrade.



---
I buy records. Getting rid of some? Let me know.
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Re: Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: beagledave
Date: April 09, 2012 04:03PM
Quote
mattkime
Isn't lifting the entire text of an article and posting it as your own content considered stealing?

Yes.

She couldn't even be bothered apparently, to offer up attribution.

[thehill.com]
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Re: Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: Gutenberg
Date: April 09, 2012 08:22PM
Quote
samintx
Republicans charged during the legislative debate over healthcare that the IRS would be hiring hundreds of new agents to enforce the mandate and throwing people in jail because they don’t have insurance.

God knows everyone tells the truth during Congressional debates.
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Re: Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: hal
Date: April 09, 2012 09:23PM
DEATH PANELS!!!
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Re: Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: April 09, 2012 09:42PM
Well, going to jail beats a death panel.
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Re: Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: Lux Interior
Date: April 10, 2012 12:57AM
No. Not at all.

Now please report to the FEMA re-education camp that is closest to your current location.
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Re: Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: Pam
Date: April 10, 2012 07:52AM
Do I have this straight?

Law was passed by Congress

IRS has responsibilities according to this new law

IRS needs to ramp up to fulfill it's duties

GOP doesn't like the bill but can't override it

GOP tries to block funding for a law Congress already passed

The President is using legal means, with precedents, to fund bill passed by Congress
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Re: Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: April 10, 2012 08:10AM
You missed a step -

OUTRAGE!

it goes last....er...first. both? hm, a bunch of times. outrage is most of the steps.


Quote
Pam
Do I have this straight?

Law was passed by Congress

IRS has responsibilities according to this new law

IRS needs to ramp up to fulfill it's duties

GOP doesn't like the bill but can't override it

GOP tries to block funding for a law Congress already passed

The President is using legal means, with precedents, to fund bill passed by Congress



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Re: Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: April 10, 2012 08:39AM
May I calmly and diffidently point out that the way the law was written is rather... odd ? The law DOES use the IRS as an investigatory / enforcement agency of a law that has nothing whatsoever to do with taxes.

That was (an I believe I may have pointed it out) a very strange thing, and continues to be a very strange thing. But then again, the US Tax Code is a very strange thing, and filled will all kinds of weird bits... agricultural enforcement, lifestyle enforcement, etc....

So in retrospect this is par for the course.
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Re: Is the IRS turning into the KGB?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: April 10, 2012 01:22PM
1. Does anyone here remember what the KGB was and what it did?

2. Are you really comparing a totalitarian Soviet regime to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act?

3. If you answered yes to both questions above, have you lost your damn mind?



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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