Portman: IRS Provision Off The Table In Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan After GOP Outcry

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 09: Ranking member Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) questions Neera Tanden, nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland S... WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 09: Ranking member Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) questions Neera Tanden, nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee on February 9, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Tanden helped found the Center for American Progress, a policy research and advocacy organization and has held senior advisory positions in Democratic politics since the Clinton administration. (Photo by Leigh Vogel-Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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July 18, 2021 3:08 p.m.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who serves as the lead GOP negotiation for the bipartisan infrastructure proposal, on Sunday said that lawmakers have ditched increased IRS enforcement as a way to fund the nearly $1 trillion package.

During an interview on CNN, Portman indicated that the decision to nix the IRS enforcement proposal came after “pushback” from fellow Republicans.

“Well, one reason it’s not part of the proposal is that we did have pushback. Another reason is that we found out that the Democrats were going to put a proposal into the reconciliation package, which was not just similar to the one we had, but with a lot more IRS enforcement,” Portman said.

“So that created quite a problem, because the general agreement is that this is the bipartisan negotiated infrastructure package, and that we will stick with that,” Portman added.

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Portman’s remarks come as no surprise after the group of bipartisan senators weighed abandoning an effort to raise revenue for the roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure agreement through enhanced enforcement at the IRS, following Republicans’ skepticism over granting the tax agency new power. The IRS provision had been estimated to bring in an estimated $100 billion over 10 years and would target taxpayers who dodge income taxes.

The decision to nix IRS enforcement from the bipartisan infrastructure bill signals that the group of lawmakers behind the proposal will need to find other ways to fund the package.

Portman told CNN that lawmakers are “still negotiating” some “final details with the White House” and that he and other lawmakers on both sides of the aisle would continue having discussions later Sunday.

“Later today, we will be having additional negotiations with the Republicans and Democrats who have come together to put this bill into a track that’s very unusual for Washington,” Portman said.

Portman also dismissed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) announcement of setting an “arbitrary” deadline on Wednesday for a procedural vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal. Schumer also set Wednesday as the deadline for Democrats to “move forward” on a budget reconciliation resolution with a $3.5 trillion topline in spending.

“Chuck Schumer, with all due respect, is not writing the bill, nor is Mitch McConnell,” Portman said. “So that’s why we shouldn’t have an arbitrary deadline of Wednesday. We should bring the legislation forward when it’s ready.”

Watch Portman’s remarks below:

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