Is the IRS capable of handling all of its new responsibilities under ObamaCare? Not according to the National Taxpayer Advocate. A new report from the IRS watchdog says that your friendly neighborhood tax collectors are insufficiently prepared to carry out their duties under the new health care law, and will therefore require additional funding not included in the bill:
A warning that federal tax officials will need more congressional funding to administer the Democrats' health reform law has rekindled the partisan debate over its cost effectiveness.
Senior Republicans have said for months that the new responsibilities required of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under the legislation would saddle the agency with billions of dollars in additional costs — expenses not accounted for in the bill.
A Wednesday report from the National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA), an independent watchdog within the IRS, backed those claims, finding that the agency currently lacks the resources to take on the new duties.
"I have no doubt the IRS is capable of administering social programs, including healthcare," Nina Olson, head of the NTA, said in a statement. "But Congress must provide sufficient funding."
It's not clear how much additional funding will be necessary—the NTA expects to know more next year—but the official IRS response ("It's premature to discuss funding issues.") amounts to rolling one's eyes and sighing, "can we please talk about this later?" Waiting to talk about funding requirements until later is exactly the problem, and what got us here in the first place. The PPACA's authors ignored, forgot about, hid, or shifted aside billions in necessary spending in order to bring the bill's cost down.
Meanwhile, Democratic staffers stand ready to root through taxpayer wallets turn out their pockets in order to come up with the extra money. A Democratic staffer for the House Ways and Means Committee told The Hill that, "Congress stands ready to ensure that IRS has the resources it needs to make sure this is done properly." Which is to say that the party has made a firm commitment to throwing potato sacks full of borrowed cash out the door for as long as it can if that's what it takes to make ObamaCare work.