President Donald Trump is unhappy with a new bipartisan, bicameral spending package drafted to avert another partial government shutdown. Funding for certain federal agencies, including the IRS and Treasury, is set to expire on February 15.
“I have to study it. I’m not happy about it,” Trump told reporters at the White House on February 12. “It’s not doing the trick.”
2019 Tax Filing Season
Meanwhile, the Senate’s top Democratic tax writer has cautioned Trump against possibly vetoing the spending package. The IRS could be “paralyze[d]” during the 2019 tax filing season if another partial government shutdown occurs, according to Senate Finance Committee (SFC) ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
“Trump may not understand how important tax refunds are to most Americans, but you can bet he’ll find out if he axes this funding agreement, causes another prolonged shutdown and keeps refunds from going out on time,” Wyden said in a February 12 statement.
The IRS is processing tax returns and refunds this filing season at lower levels than previously reported in 2018. However, Treasury has said that the lower numbers reported in its 2019 tax filing statistics are misleading and from a small data sample.
Notably, a second partial government shutdown this year could result in IRS staffing shortages and further delay refunds, according to Wyden’s February 12 press release. “[A]nother Trump shutdown could paralyze the IRS during tax filing season, add to the existing backlog of correspondence and potentially delay refunds.”
Likewise, several Republicans are calling on Trump to both study and support the spending package with hopes of averting another government shutdown. “I told the president I thought he, as well as all of us, ought to wait until we’ve actually read the final deal,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters on February 12. “I have recommended that if it becomes what we think it is, I do recommend he sign it.”
By Jessica Jeane, Senior News Editor