As the Biden administration prepares to reverse the current trend and ramp up hiring at the Internal Revenue Service, GOP U.S. Sen. Rick Scott is offering advice to potential applicants: Take your talents somewhere else.
Ever since Senate Democrats first reached an agreement on the since-passed-into-law Inflation Reduction Act, Republicans have pounced on the new spending provided for IRS that could lead to up to 87,000 hires at the agency. Part of the $80 billion, spread out over the next decade, will allow IRS to fill the tens of thousands of positions that have been slashed over the last couple decades and prepare for future attrition.
While many opponents of the measure have condemned it for “doubling the size” of the IRS, the administration has vehemently denied that claim and said the agency will grow more modestly after accounting for the more than 50,000 employees expected to leave in the coming years.
Scott said in a letter addressed to the “American job seeker” that the jobs will be short term, as Republicans will attempt to repeal the funding if they gain control of Congress next year. “I can promise you that we will immediately do everything in our power to defund this insane and unwarranted expansion of government into the lives of the American people,” Scott wrote.
He added that because some IRS positions are classified as law enforcement and require the carrying of a firearm, the job is inherently unjust.
“The IRS is making it very clear that you not only need to be ready to audit and investigate your fellow hardworking Americans, your neighbors and friends, you need to be ready and, to use the IRS’s words, willing, to kill them,” Scott said, citing a since removed job posting.
Like several other federal agencies, IRS maintains its own police force with gun-carrying officers. Scott likened the hiring to creating a “super-police force” and said it would “not be tolerated by the American people.”
Scott said obtaining a job is the best thing to do for a family and provides great opportunities, but that should not apply to positions that support President Biden’s “big government policies.”
“I applaud your continued participation in the American labor force and wish you the very best in your search for a great job that serves a purpose beyond being a henchman of President Biden and congressional Democrats,” Scott said.
IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, appointed by President Trump, has lamented that IRS has shed 17,000 enforcement personnel since 2010.
The agency is “outgunned” by corporations and wealthy taxpayers who can afford to engage in complex measures to avoid paying what they owe, he said, stressing the new funds would target those individuals and entities. Additionally, many of the new hires would not go to enforcement at all, instead addressing customer service or back end functions like human resources.
The agency is currently facing an unprecedented backlog of tax filings and has taken drastic steps to address it, including mandating overtime for 6,000 employees and allowing for voluntary overtime for an additional 10,000 workers, deploying surge teams, bringing on contractors and going on a hiring spree aided by a hastened onboarding process authorized by Congress.
Earlier this year, Rettig announced a plan to hire 10,000 new employees by the end of 2023, though the agency has struggled to get employees on board for some positions.
A version of this story was first published on Government Executive.