U.S. lawmakers trying to salvage a bill of $ 2 trillion in bipartisan infrastructure have dropped a provision to strengthen tax enforcement, Republican Sen. Rob Portman said Sunday and set aside a substantial revenue drive.
The provision, which aims to increase Internal Revenue Service (IRS) collections, will instead likely be added to a separate budget “reconciliation” bill, pushed by Democrats as a means of passing trillions of dollars more in spending and tax increases, said Portman on CNN’s Union program.
President Joe Biden has said he will invest $ 80 billion in IRS technology and enforcement to increase tax collection by $ 700 billion over 10 years. The provision outlined in the infrastructure proposal accounts for around DKK 100 billion. Of the larger target, according to Democratic senators’ estimates.
The decision to exclude the IRS provision from the $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill comes as senators and the White House try to negotiate the final details of the package ahead of an important procedural vote scheduled for Wednesday.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said he wants to hold a “cloture” vote to meet the 60-vote threshold needed to end the debate and let the infrastructure proposal go to a final vote.
“As for the IRS reform or the IRS tax difference that was originally in the proposal, it will no longer be in our proposal. That will be in the larger reconciliation proposal we are told, ”said Portman, who is among senators working to negotiate the legislation.
Portman said there was a Republican “pushback” against the IRS proposal after the party was told Democrats were also planning to add a major IRS enforcement proposal to the separate bill on equalization spending. Democrats hope to pass the reconciliation proposal without Republican support under budgetary rules that allow them to continue with just a simple majority, which would require them to use the uninterrupted vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.
“It created a big problem,” Portman said, because Republicans believed they agreed with Democrats on the full scope of IRS enforcement in the infrastructure bill.
“And President Biden said to his credit that we will not negotiate on these issues again in the reconciliation package.”
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy, who is also among the negotiators of the infrastructure proposal, said it was unclear whether they would be able to proceed with Wednesday’s procedural vote.
He told Fox News on Sunday that the deal could continue with the Democrats’ larger reconciliation bill if the right revenue measures to pay for it could be found.
Wednesday’s vote would require 60 votes in the Senate to continue, meaning it would need the support of at least 10 Republicans, provided all Democrats support it.
“How can I vote for cloture when the bill is not written?” Said Cassidy. “Unless Senator Schumer does not want this to happen, you need a little more time to get it right.”
Schumer, speaking to reporters in New York on Sunday, said there was no reason why the bipartisan group negotiating the infrastructure package could not reach an agreement by Wednesday.
(Reporting by David Lawder and Joel Schectman, writing by David Lawder; Editing by Michelle Price and Steve Orlofsky)