U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke on the Senate floor in opposition to the Biden administration’s proposed scheme to double funding for the Internal Revenue Service and require banks to report on accounts to the IRS with transactions over $600.
Excerpts from Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“I come to oppose the Democrats reckless tax and spending bill. Right now the Democrats are pushing a big government socialist agenda. I mean, no question about it. They want additional permanent welfare programs.
“To me this bankrupts current programs, like Medicare. It’s very hard to think about this amount of spending without realizing the risk that it proves for social security and of course the Democrats are proposing this big green new disaster.
“For all this spending, what do they want to do? Well, they want to raise taxes by trillions and trillions of dollars, but it’s still not enough to pay for all of the spending that they want to do.
“That’s why Democrats are now working and pushing this backdoor tax increase. Democrats want to super-size the least accountable and most powerful of the federal government and that is the Internal Revenue Service.
“What we know about this agency, the I.R.S., they have time and time again proven they can’t be trusted to secure data, when we look at the leaks that come out of the I.R.S. They are looking for more data, private information, and private business by American taxpayers.
“Democrats are asking in this $3.5 trillion bill $80 billion of additional funding for the internal revenue service. They want to give the I.R.S. enough money and power to hire a full new army of bureaucrats.
“President Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been very clear. She knows what she wants to do with some of the money.
“She wants to force banks to tell the I.R.S. every time anyone writes or deposits a check above a certain amount in their banking account, checking account. Right now the number that she’s talking about is $600. $600 for a check written or deposited.
“So every time someone pays the rent, deposits a paycheck, Democrats want the I.R.S. to know about it. Not enough to know that the government knows how much people make, they want to know how much they spend.
“It’s big brother initiative to squeeze every last penny out of working families. Why else would they want to go after every hardworking man and woman in America to find out this information?
“As Americans find out about that, they are furious. They are smart enough to know that when Joe Biden first says we’re only going to tax the billionaires; why are they looking into the banking accounts and the checking accounts and the deposits and withdrawals of people all across the country?
“It’s because the tax man is coming for them as well when it comes to trying to pay for this massive tax and spending blowout.
“So as more and more people find out about it, the more it furious they become. I got a report again this morning, 488 more e-mails and letters into the senator from Wyoming, my home state.
“I have received more calls, more e-mails, more letters from the people in Wyoming on this one topic than on any one topic that I can recall in the time I have been in the United States Senate.
“And everyone calling and writing about it has the same position. It’s not that half of the people are for it, half of the people are against it. Everybody is against this.
“Everyone that we heard from – the 488 that I heard from within the last 24 hours – everyone is against this proposal.
“Thousands and thousands of e-mails. I talked to Senator Lummis, the other senator from Wyoming, her inbox is completely full as well, all related to this topic. That’s what I heard about in the grocery store this past weekend at home in Wyoming.
“This new scheme will be terrible and not just for the taxpayers. It’s going to be a heavyweight around the neck of the community banks and credit unions in Wyoming.
“I talked to one of the bankers from Wyoming, she was in the grocery store getting food for the weekend. It was the thing she wanted to talk about – the fact that they would have to hire three new employees to comply with all of the regulations coming out that would relate to trying to get this information from their bank to the I.R.S.
“In addition, this would be quite an attack on our privacy. This big brother scheme would make community bankers and credit union associates into de facto I.R.S. agents.
“And as this bank officer said to me, ‘look, I am not going to be working for the I.R.S., I work for my customers, my clients, the people of Wyoming. The last thing I want to do is be somebody reporting to the I.R.S.
“This is what I’m hearing from bankers all around the state of Wyoming. They don’t want to be invading people’s privacy. They don’t want to become agents of the I.R.S.
“People in Wyoming have a straightforward response to this administration and it is this: leave us alone.
“We don’t need you looking over our shoulder, prying into our life and our activities. And if Democrats go forward with this big brother plan, the people all across this country will not stand for it.
“Many people in Wyoming will look for alternatives to traditional banks and credit unions because they don’t want the I.R.S., and the government, and big brother to know their personal activities.
“They want to protect their privacy. They may find other places to put their money.
“That’s going to devastate local banks, local credit unions, and people take their money out because they don’t want government boring into their data and financial transactions.
“It’s going to happen in every state. Hard to believe the government would want to do that.
“But, yet, Secretary Yellen came to Capitol Hill and that is what she is doing, she is still defending this indefensible idea.
“I believe she’s doing it because that’s what Joe Biden, the President of the United States, is telling her to do as his Treasury Secretary.
“So she went on television Tuesday, two days ago, essentially said it is no big deal, that’s what the Treasury Secretary of the United States believes that violating the individual privacy of private individuals is no big deal.
“Last week, Senator Lummis from Wyoming questioned Secretary Yellen before the Banking Committee. Secretary Yellen doubled down. She said, ‘I think you misunderstand the proposal. She said the I.R.S. already has a wealth of information about individuals.’
“Well, Madam Secretary, we understand that really well. We know you have a wealth of information about individual taxpayers, you know how much they make, you know when they make it. That’s enough.
“If you have all of this, you don’t need more, but yet you are asking for more and you want $80 billion for an army of I.R.S. agents to be able to find it. That’s the problem, the I.R.S. has so much information about us already.
“Senator Lummis did get Secretary Yellen to admit working families are not the ones skimping out on the taxes. Why else do we have this army of I.R.S. agents looking into our taxes?
“Secretary Yellen didn’t seem to care. She doubled down, still defending this massive invasion of privacy, and that’s what it is.
“It’s a huge invasion of privacy, and I contend that they want all this information so they can try to squeeze more money from people who the secretary even admits are not trying to cheat on their taxes.
“They’re trying to find ways to take more money out of their pocketbooks, when they’re already feeling the big bite of Joe Biden’s inflation at the gas pump and at the grocery store.
“This big brother plan is reckless. It treats the American people like criminals.
“It turns the I.R.S. into the judge, the jury, and the lord high executioner.
“This scheme shows how desperate Democrats are to get their hands on taxpayer money. Why? So they can spend more.
“They are so desperate for more spending that they’re willing to spy on the American people to try to get more money to spend.
“When I watch and listen to the Democrats talk, there’s a food fight going on, and the food fight is how much more can we tax and how much more can we spend.
“It’s a food fight between the really big spenders and the extremely big spenders. Democrats think that Washington knows best.
“The people of Wyoming know differently. We don’t need Washington looking over our shoulders.
“It’s time for Democrats to drop the entire plan, mind their own business, and stop demanding more money to spy on the American people.”