Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.C.) on Tuesday attacked a provision in the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act that would significantly increase the number of agents working for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Graham told a press conference with South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) that hiring 87,000 new IRS agents “should be for the rich,” but the rich have “a bunch of lawyers and accountants” and more than half of IRS audits are held on people making less than $75,000 a year.
“If you think the federal government is out of control now, God help us when you get 87,000 new IRS agents looking under every rock to get money out of your pocket,” he said.
Graham said the new employees would expand the IRS by two and a half times.
The IRS hired more than 78,000 people in fiscal year 2021, and the legislation will complete additional hires over the next 10 years, investing $80 million to increase enforcement.
Graham said he would fight tooth and nail against the proposal and try to redirect funding for the IRS to immigration enforcement every year the agency expands. He said he would like to see “a lot” more Border Patrol agents and fewer IRS agents.
Graham said the bill, which passed the Senate Sunday by reconciliation after a marathon vote on amendments, would hurt South Carolina’s economy and was a “power grab in the name of climate change.” He added that the legislation is a “tax and spend” bill at a time when the country can least afford it.
In addition to expanding the IRS, the $430 billion legislation includes provisions to provide tax credits to incentivize cleaner energy choices, allow Medicare to directly negotiate lower drug prices, and implement a 15 percent minimum tax on the income that large corporations report to shareholders.
The bill passed along party lines, with Vice President Harris voting on a 50-50 vote in the Senate. Graham said every Republican voted against it because they realized in March 2021 it wouldn’t work.
The legislation is a smaller version of President Biden’s original Build Back Better proposal, a $3.5 trillion climate and social spending package that was stalled last year due to opposition from moderate Democrats.
Graham said that “huge spending and taxes” in the US bailout, a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus that Biden has proposed as the country looks to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, are to blame for high inflation. He said the new bill would “make everything worse”.