The House has approved a standalone bill to fully reopen Treasury and the IRS as the partial government shutdown heads toward record-breaking numbers. However, the standalone IRS bill is likely dead on arrival in the Senate.
The partial government shutdown is expected on January 12 to surpass the previously longest shutdown (21 days) in U.S. history. The IRS, having already furloughed close to 90 percent of its employees, has been significantly impacted by the shutdown.
The Democratic-controlled House approved the IRS funding bill by a 240-to-188 vote on January 9. Eight Republican lawmakers voted yes alongside Democrats.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., encouraged the Senate to approve the IRS funding bill in a January 9 statement. “Democrats are committed to fully funding the government, and with this bill, we are one step closer to re-opening Treasury and the IRS and to getting more than 70,000 government employees across the country back to work,” Neal said. “Immediate action is needed to ensure Americans receive the tax refunds they rely on in a timely fashion, to protect Treasury employees from missing more paychecks, and to avert chaos during filing season and beyond.”
White House Disagreement
However, President Donald Trump called a January 9 meeting with Democratic leadership at the White House a “total waste of time.” During the meeting, Trump reportedly asked if Democrats would be willing to later fund his border security request if he ended the partial government shutdown now. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., reportedly responded, “No.”
Congressional Republicans continue to criticize Democratic leadership for their unwillingness to negotiate with Trump. Meanwhile, Democrats maintain that Trump’s border security requests are ineffective and will not be granted.
By Jessica Jeane, Senior News Editor