The GOP in the House is fighting back against what it calls government abuse, announcing plans to vote this week on 10 bills inspired by the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of Tea Party-linked political groups for additional scrutiny.
These bills span a wide range of concerns, from a so-called “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” suggested by Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., to a bill requiring government-wide standards of customer service and target response times on phone calls and e-mails, to a moratorium on IRS conferences.
While some of these bills seem like bipartisan no-brainers, others are bound to stir up more controversy. These include a bill that would limit bonuses to federal employees, another that would make it easier to fire employees, and one that would allow citizens to record conversations with federal workers.
And, of course, there is yet another attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. A vote has been scheduled for H.R. 2009, also known as the Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act. This will mark the 40th attempt by House Republicans to eliminate Obamacare.
All in all, the effort is something of a mixed bag. While increasing the transparency of government spending, making sure e-mails and phone calls get responded to in timely fashion, and preventing the IRS from spending $50,000 on videos at conferences are all good ideas, some of the other bills are more suspect. Limits on bonuses and making it easier to fire employees will make it harder for the government to recruit. And the health care vote has less to do with government abuse and more to do with GOP hatred of Obamacare.
It will be interesting to see what bills do get passed — and whether or not the 40th time is the charm for repealing the Affordable Care Act — before Congress breaks for its traditional August recess.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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