The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

June 16, 2013

IRS scandals threaten funding for health care

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

Obama appointed a new acting IRS commissioner, Danny Werfel, a former White House budget official. Werfel is conducting an internal review of the agency and is expected to issue recommendations for changes by the end of June.

All this is happening as the agency works to implement the health law that includes some of the most sweeping changes to the tax code in a generation.

“The IRS needs to repair the plane while it’s in flight right now,” said Paul Cherecwich, chairman of the IRS Oversight Board, an independent board within the agency. “Should the current budget environment continue, the IRS will have to continue to have to do more with less while rebuilding taxpayer trust. It has no choice, and it won’t be easy.”

Like many federal agencies, the IRS has seen its budget and workforce shrink since 2010, when the agency was allotted $12.1 billion. This year, the IRS is expected to spend $11.2 billion. Obama’s proposed budget for next year is $12.9 billion — a 14 percent increase over current spending.

About $440 million would go toward implementing the health care law. That would include hiring nearly 2,000 employees, according to an analysis of the president’s budget proposal by the Government Accountability Office.

“We are working to get to the bottom of what happened at the IRS, hold the responsible parties accountable, make sure it cannot happen again, and restore public trust and confidence in the IRS and its ability to administer the tax code fairly and efficiently,” said White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage.

“For years Republicans in Congress have made repeated attempts to stop and slow down the Affordable Care Act. This is just the latest attempt to put up roadblocks to implementing the law,” Brundage said. “The health law is the law of the land, and we are working to implement it well, so millions of Americans will have access to affordable and quality insurance.”

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