The union leader representing IRS employees revealed that the agency plans to use the resources allocated through Joe Biden’s tax and climate legislative framework to maintain its services in the event of a government shutdown this month. Doreen Greenwald, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, stated in a press briefing that, although IRS employees will remain operational and paid during such a shutdown, there is a prevailing sense of uncertainty, exacerbated by the wait for the Treasury Department’s final plan. She emphasized that the union, which represents the interests of around 65,000 IRS employees across the United States, is largely relying on last year’s contingency plan.
According to her, about a quarter of the initially allocated 80 billion dollars to the IRS under the law aiming to reduce inflation were cut following an agreement reached earlier in the year between Biden and Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the House. « We are concerned as long as the definitive plan is not established, » she added, urging continued pressure on elected officials to ensure timely budgetary votes.
Danny Werfel, the IRS commissioner, mentioned last week that it was too early to discuss the IRS strategies, given that he is waiting for instructions from the Office of Management and Budget as well as from the Treasury Department. An IRS representative was not available to provide a comment.
The risk of a government shutdown at the end of September is real, due to ongoing disagreements within the Republican party in the House over major funding issues. It has not been possible to pass the majority of the 12 annual spending bills.
This week, a vote is scheduled on the GOP House proposal to extend government funding for an additional month, a proposal stemming from a recent agreement between GOP negotiators. This agreement contemplates a temporary 8% reduction in domestic agency expenditures and a resumption of construction on the border wall.
If no interim agreement is reached to fund the government until the end of September, a shutdown is inevitable.
It is worth noting that at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019, a similar government halt forced the IRS to cease many activities, exacerbating delays and issues related to customer service. Despite employees not being paid during this period, tax refunds remained active.
In early September, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association urged Congress to avoid another government shutdown, highlighting the negative repercussions for the economy and public trust. William Shackelford, the national president of NARFE, emphasized in a September 7 letter the Congress’s fundamental duty to fund the government, to avoid any economic chaos and disruption of public services.