Related Stories
TIME: IRS Reform: 'We'll Get Killed On This' (10/27/97)

President Clinton Speaks On IRS Reform (10/10/97)

GOP Has Many Motives In IRS Crusade (10/7/97)

Related Sites
Internal Revenue Service Web site

Bulletin Board
Join a thread, start a thread -- it's your chance to sound off!

Infoseek search


White House Endorses House IRS Reform Plan


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Oct. 21) -- As a proposal for the sweeping overhaul of the Internal Revenue Service gained bipartisan steam on Capitol Hill today, the White House offered its conditional support for the leading IRS reform plan in Congress.

Key House Democrats, including House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) announced their support for the reform plan proposed earlier Tuesday by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer (R-Texas). (320K wav sound)

The Clinton Administration had been objecting to the two centerpiece elements of the legislation: creating an independent oversight board and shifting the burden of proof from taxpayers to the IRS when a dispute goes to tax court.

But faced with a Democratic defection, aides decided to endorse the measure at a hastily arranged White House economic team meeting this afternoon.

House Republicans wasted no time rubbing it in on what they categorize as a White House capitulation.

Archer said, "I'm glad that President Clinton has completely changed his position on reforming the IRS. Earlier today, I called on the president to drop his poison position and he has agreed. It was wrong of him to have taken this position in the first place. Today's victory is another example of what a difference a Republican Congress makes."

Unveiling his plan earlier today, Archer criticized the president for opposing the reforms. "Instead of following the lead of Congress and joining with us to protect the taxpayer, the president has taken a poison position on two key reforms. He opposes the creation of an independent oversight board and he insists that the taxpayer remain liable until the taxpayer can prove that he or she is not liable," Archer said.

Gephardt has privately warned the White House that it has appeared to be defending the IRS, leaving the Democrats in a tenuous political position as Republicans make IRS and tax reform a major issue heading into the 1998 congressional elections.


So as the House neared a veto-proof majority in support of the reform bill, the White House signaled flexibility.

Rubin, who currently oversees the IRS and has fiercely opposed an oversight board with broad powers, said at a news conference, "We support the bill in its current form but we also believe that there are changes that can be made and should be made and we will work toward making those changes."

The administration already negotiated one compromise under which the board would not have authority to hire or fire the IRS commissioner, but it would still have significant say over the agency's budget and priorities.


While the White House still hopes to win some more concessions, Archer indicated earlier today that there may be no more room for maneuvering. "When it comes to protecting taxpayers or protecting turf, no one should be asked to compromise. My job as chair of this committee is to protect the taxpayer and that's what I intend to do. I personally cannot understand why the president would prefer to protect Treasury's turf rather than protect the needs of the taxpayer," Archer said.

Gephardt said, "This bill strikes a proper compromise. It makes the IRS more accountable by creating an outside oversight board and it makes Congress and the pres more accountable by retaining control over the IRS by elected officials."

McCurry also softened the administration's opposition to Archer's plan to put the burden of proof on the IRS, not taxpayers, in certain tax court proceedings. McCurry said Archer's legislative language was narrowly drawn and that administration lawyers were reviewing it, but likely to embrace it.

CNN's John King contributed to this report.

In Other News:

Tuesday Oct. 21, 1997

White House Endorses House IRS Reform Plan
Tight Gov. Races In New Jersey, Virginia
Clinton Urges Action On Literacy Program
New Bankruptcy Rules In The Works
Senate Republicans To Zero In On Videotapes
More Pre-Trial Wrangling In Jones Case
New FBI Crime Lab Chief Introduced

E-Mail From Washington:
White House Defends Legality Of Issue Ads

home | news | in-depth | analysis | what's new | community | contents | search

Click here for technical help or to send us feedback.

Copyright © 1997 AllPolitics All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this information is provided to you.