The 55th Speaker: Kevin McCarthy is no Nancy Pelosi — and That’s a Good Thing

Below is my column in the Hill on the new rules that came out of the negotiations leading to the election of Kevin McCarthy as the 55th Speaker of the United States. As noted below, I did not support the standoff and I do not support some of the changes that came out of the negotiations. Some of these changes were already in the works with McCarthy’s support. Moreover, some of these changes will make it more challenging for the Speaker by returning to prior rules allowing greater opportunity for amendments and floor fights. However, the holdouts were right that things have to change in Congress, particularly in allowing greater deliberation and debate over legislation. Some of these changes could achieve that worthy goal.

Here is the column:

The ascendance of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as the 55th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives may have come with all of the spontaneity of a shotgun wedding — but it finally came. McCarthy deserved better than a tortuous three-day floor fight but, then again, he is now second in line to the presidency.

Many of us have great sympathy for McCarthy, who looked like a guy caught in a feedback loop stepping on the same rake over and over again. (For the record, I opposed the floor fight, given the overwhelming support for McCarthy.) However, as is often the case in Washington, the narrative opposing these holdouts allowed for little recognition of what they achieved in McCarthy’s concessions. Indeed, the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank ran a column titled “McCarthy’s fate is irrelevant. The terrorists have already won.”

Moreover, many in the media were honest about what they consider his greatest shortcoming: “Kevin McCarthy is no Nancy Pelosi.”

Some of us sincerely hope so.

While Pelosi (D-Calif.) remains the ideal of many in the media, she tolerated little public debate or dissent. She thrilled her base with such infamous performative acts as tearing up a State of the Union Address of then-President Trump. As an all-powerful speaker, she oversaw a series of party-line votes with little opportunity for amendments or even to read some bills.

Many Republicans did not want the Pelosi model of an all-powerful speaker. For these members, the agreement with McCarthy is a type of Magna Carta.

The original Magna Carta, of course, was honored primarily in the breach by King John, who immediately asked the pope to annul it. Yet it was an impressive statement of rights.

No one is seriously suggesting that the GOP agreement is the new Magna Carta, but it is meant to redefine legislative rights — and it could have tangible improvements for the House.

I have worked in the House in various roles since I was a House leadership page in the 1970s and, much later, represented the House in litigation. I’ve watched the body become less transparent, less deliberative, with every passing year.

The Framers saw the House as a powerful forum to address factions in society, a legislative crucible where different interests could be expressed and resolved in majoritarian compromise. The legislative process can inform citizens while exposing legislative proposals to public scrutiny. But that process has been largely replaced with a series of robotic, preordained votes.

Some of these concessions may change that status quo. There are provisions I do not support — yet, we should acknowledge that these changes could also improve the process to allow greater dissent and debate.

Many in the media counter that such changes reduce the speaker’s power, as if the status quo under Pelosi was the optimal legislative model. Yet some changes would empower rank-and-file members to allow for greater diversity of views — not necessarily a bad thing.

Restoring the ‘Vacate the Chair’ rule

Nancy Pelosi consolidated her power by eliminating a rule that allowed any member to make a motion to vacate the chair, a type of legislative no-confidence vote. Pelosi eliminated the one-member rule and, instead, required a majority of either party to make such a motion. Some Republicans wanted that check on the speaker to be reinstated.

Notably, what has unnerved so many in Washington is that this speakership debate was not just largely public but also unscripted. It was an actual deliberation, conducted in front of the American people. While repellent to many, it just might be something that voters could get accustomed to.

Restoring legislative review and deliberation

The GOP holdouts sought to end massive spending bills moved forward with little time to read the legislation. They want a minimum 72-hour review period and a reduction of massive omnibus bills, to allow members and the public to better understand what is being passed.

The concessions reportedly include “open rules” on all major rules bills, such as appropriations, to allow lawmakers to offer amendments on the floor. It would restore an amendment process that was gutted in recent sessions, benefiting Democrats and Republicans alike.

They would reinstate “Calendar Wednesday,” which permits committee chairs “to bring reported bills directly to the House floor for consideration under an open amendment process, and reform the process by ensuring the same 72-hour notice that is required on all other measures is provided.”

For years, some of us have called for smaller bills and more deliberation. Massive bills are a way to hide personal perks and pork projects under fraudulent packaging like the “Inflation Reduction Act” that had little to do with inflation. The omnibus bill recently pushed through the House and Senate is an example of this abusive, opaque process. It was a collection of 7,200 earmarks and pork projects, including tens of millions for libraries for the papers of a couple retiring senators; five senators grabbed half a billion dollars for their favorite colleges. You had to swallow it whole or kill any spending bill.

Reinstate budget and tax procedures

Members want to restore the ability to reduce runaway spending and control increasing budgets and taxes. While one can disagree with some of the provisions, these members are clearly serious about gaining control over the budget. They would reinstate the “three-fifths supermajority in the House to approve any increases in tax rates” and require the Congressional Budget Office to analyze bills’ impacts on inflation.

They also would restore the “cut-as-you-go” (CUTGO) rule, which requires spending increases to be offset by equal or greater cuts in mandatory spending.

They would repeal the “Gephardt Rule,” which treats the debt limit as increased upon passage of a budget resolution. That rule allows members to avoid public debate over increasing a national debt that now stands at over $31 trillion. And they would restore the “Holman Rule” from 1876, permitting members to make targeted cuts impacting federal agency functions and salaries.

These are measures designed to control federal spending — a shock to a system that has abandoned any semblance of fiscal responsibility under both parties.

Committee reforms

Rebelling members pushed for a committee to investigate the FBI and its continuing scandals. I previously called for the creation of a new “Church Committee,” which will be established under Speaker McCarthy.

They also demand commitment to oversight in areas long ignored by Democrats, including the threats posed by China. The House Ethics Committee would have a new process allowing complaints from the public.

All of this challenges a status quo which seems inviolate to many in the media.

Yes, there are demands in the concessions that some of us do not favor. However, we should be honest about the status quo: Today’s legislative system is a mockery of the deliberative process, characterized by runaway spending, blind voting and perfunctory debates. You can dislike or denounce the holdouts while still admitting they have a point — Congress has got to change.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

290 thoughts on “The 55th Speaker: Kevin McCarthy is no Nancy Pelosi — and That’s a Good Thing”

  1. Sorry I’m late to the party. The headline for this article seems a bit premature and bordering on naive. It may fill back up slowly, but I would have your high boots nearby.

    1. Citation please.

      Taxation was not designed as a confiscatory or punitive tool to be deployed to “go after” any American.

      It appears the power of Congress is severely limited to taxation for debt, defense and general Welfare, omitting and, thereby, excluding any taxation for individual welfare, specific welfare, particular welfare, charity and favor, general meaning all or the whole, which eliminates Social Security and Medicare merely as hors d’oeuvres.

  2. As it stands now, they don’t read the bills or write the bills or debate the bills or amend the bills. Your ‘representatives’ vote on giant indecipherable ‘comprehensive’ packages based on what their party’s most powerful, incestuous, DC lifer tells them to do while holding a gun to their head. Maybe this will change.

  3. OT,
    2016 Russian Twitter Trolls Were Dismal Failure: WaPo
    WaPo citing a NYU Center for Social Media and Politics study found Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 US election via Twitter were a dismal failure.
    “My personal sense coming out of this is that this got way overhyped,” said report co-author Josh Tucker, who co-directs the NYU center. “Now we’re looking back at data and we can see how concentrated this was in one small portion of the population, and how the fact that people who were being exposed to these were really, really likely to vote for Trump,” he added.

    “And then we have this data to show we can’t find any relationship between being exposed to these tweets and people’s change in attitudes.”

  4. OT

    Cobalt, Baby!

    Those pesky African tribal chiefs are at it again.

    They are delivering African children into slavery as artisanal miners.

    “Horror mines” in the Congo are allowing global manufacturers to build high tech items from iPhones to Teslas, etc., using lithium-ion batteries made with cobalt.

    Pretty soon it’ll be those stinking Americans who are to blame; it’ll be those Americans and everyone else who buys an iPhone, Tesla or other battery-operated high tech device.

        1. This incredible woman is capable of converting even the most resolute bigot.

          I am no longer a misogynist; my most fervent desire is to operate my iPhone while riding in a Tesla with her, or not, whatever she chooses.

                1. They claim less cobalt is used and less is necessary – they are the cobalt industry so who knows – time knows and time will tell.

  5. As noted below, I did not support the standoff and I do not support some of the changes that came out of the negotiations. . . . There are provisions I do not support – yet, we should acknowledge that these changes could also improve the process to allow greater dissent and debate.

    Dear Professor, a word of constructive criticism. As a lawyer you undoubtedly know that this type of verbiage doesn’t tell us much. It would be better to say what you are referring to and why it is good or bad instead of your subjective feelings of favoring or disfavoring it. Either that, or follow these expressions of support (or non-support) with the word “because” and the reason, so we can see the why’s and wherefores. As Ed’s Bartle’s & James would say, thank you for your support.

    1. I agree with your constructive criticism and note that JT often takes the same approach in other posts.

  6. Anonymous – Letting people keep the money they have earned is hardly letting them “get away with cheating on their taxes.” The money is their property. Further, it has been shown repeatedly, in the 1920s, 1960s and 1980s, that reducing taxes increases economic activity in the private sector. How could it not?

    1. “Letting people keep the money they have earned is hardly letting them ‘get away with cheating on their taxes.'”

      – Aninny (attribution Mespo)

      Most “taxes” are illicit and unconstitutional.

      “It’s the [unconstitutional taxation], stupid!”

      – James Carville

      Take a brief journey through Article 1, Section 8, and discover that the communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs, AINOs) in America have no power to tax for all that they do – that they shall only tax for debt, defense and general Welfare, aka infrastructure, aka all or the whole, not one, a few or some, well proceed.

    2. Some people cheat on their taxes. Letting them get away with it is just that, getting away with cheating on their taxes.

      1. The Constitution prescribes exponentially fewer taxes making them infinitesimal and entirely insignificant.

          1. “…debt, defense and general Welfare…”

            Everyone’s tax bill is substantially lower when unconstitutional Social Security and Medicare are eliminated.

            Oh, and unconstitutional WIC, SNAP, TANF, HAMP, HARP, TARP, HHS, CMS, CHIP, HUD, EPA, Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Labor, Energy, Obamacare, welfare, food stamps, utility subsidies, Social Security Disability, Social Security Supplemental Income, Medicaid, etc.

      2. getting away with cheating on theirs.

        In many Democrat cities, stealing less than $900 is a misdomener, if they catch you, but since they dont investigate most never see a charge.

        I guess crime is relative. Keeping the money you earned seem less of a crime than stealing what is not yours.

  7. Gee wiz.

    Cleaning out Vice President Biden’s old office reveal a treasure trove of Classified Documents. Strap in, the spinning is going to be insane.

    1. @iowan

      And the % of us that watch the MSM or listen to NPR will believe every word of the spin. They think Cheney is one of the good guys. Someday someone will study TDS and wonder how a society could so collectively break from sanity, all at once. Makes one think a lot of us were just putting on a show, previously.

  8. Jonathan: You say “Kevin McCarthy is not Nancy Pelosi–and That’s a Good thing”. Trying to put lipstick on the pig that is the new slim House GOP majority doesn’t change the fact that the next two years will be total gridlock and chaos under McCarthy’s leadership. McCarthy had to make a pact with the devil to get the job he coveted. It reminds me of the myth about Robert Johnson, the father of the blues. He went to the “Crossroads” and made a deal with the Devil to exchange his soul for being able to play great blues. McCarthy also went to the “Crossroads” during the 15 votes and gave away the soul to the far-right MAGA supporting fringe of the party. One key concession to the fringe was the right of any House member to make a “motion to vacate” the chair. McCarthy knows that any false step that doesn’t satisfy the “Freedom Caucus” will put his job in jeopardy. Hardly something Pelosi would have allowed. You can’t get anything done when a sword of Damocles hangs over your head.

    One of the first problems McCarthy faces is what is to be done with George Santos–the guy who lied his way into office. Even before he was sworn in Santos promised his supporter that they would get perks for a donation of between $100 and “$500. That’s a violation of House ethics rules. In addition the Campaign Legal Center has filed an FEC complaint accusing Santos of illegally using campaign funds for personal expenses and for submitting false information about the source of his campaign donations. The complaint further questions where Santos got the $705,000 loan to his campaign since in 2020 he had only $55,000 to his name. If Santos got the loan from a corporation or foreign national this would be barred to federal candidates.

    McCarthy has remained silent about Santos’ lies and the FEC complaint. Santos voted for McCarthy as Speaker. So McCarthy owes Santos and desperately needs Santos’ vote in the future. This is one of the consequences of making a pact with the devil. You have to admit liars and frauds into your caucus if you want to govern. So it is bizarre you would call McCarthy’s Speakership a “good thing”!

        1. I am happy with the rule changes – that is a good start – why did Pelosi get rid of these rules ?

          Beyond that – I am with mark Twain – what I want out of congress is for them to go home.
          I want Biden to spend his time in Delaware or on vacation.
          And I want the federal govenrment to quit trying to spend money to solve problems it is only going to make worse.

          The very last thing I want out of congress is for them to do anything to increase the power of government.

          It is my understanding that Republicans in the house immediately passed defunding the 78500 new IRS agents.
          That will die in the Senate – but it is highly likely to happen eventually – it will get included in some other must pass legislation.

          So that is a good thing.

          Aparently after 2 Years Bidenha salmost made a 180 of the border – or at the very least while blaming Trump – which is hillarious, he is sounding like Trump and apparently returning to many Trump border policies. And now he has pissed off the left.

          If Republicans want a Church Committee 2.0 to investigate and reign in Government spying on americans – I think that is absolutely fantastic.
          Last time Republisand were in power they came within a Cheney of repealing signficant portions of the Patriot act. With Chenney gone that is a real possibility now.

    1. “doesn’t change the fact that the next two years will be total gridlock ”

      We can only hope so

      “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the congress is in session.”

      “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

      “Fleas can be taught nearly anything that a Congressman can.”

      “An honest man in politics shines more there than he would elsewhere.”

      “There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.”

      “All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity.”

      ~ Mark Twain

    2. “McCarthy had to make a pact with the devil to get the job he coveted.”

      I am happy with the concessions MacCarthy had to make.

      Can you name one that you have a problem with ?

    3. If the freedom Caucus of the House is the “far-right MAGA supporting fringe of the party”
      Then I guess I am part of that.

      You throw out all kinds of negative adjectives and invective – but you never say what it is that you have a problem with ?

      Are you opposed to members of congress – democrats and republicans being able to essentially demand a vote of no-confidence in the speaker ?
      Are you opposed to a rule REQUIRING that bills must be available to members of congress for 72 hours before a vote ?

      Are you opposed to Congress actually following the constitutionally mandated budget process instead of waiting until the last minute and tossing out a 1.7T almost 5000 page ombibus budget bill that no one has a chance to read before voting on ?

      Are you opposed to allowing any member to offer amendments to a bill that is on the floor for a vote ?
      Are you opposed to rules that require all provisions of a bill and amendments to be consistent with the subject of the bill ?

      Are you opposed to requiring the house to vote for a constitutional amendment setting term limits for congressmen ?

      What is it that the freedom caucus pushd MacCarthy to agree to that you think is “extreme” ?

    4. “One of the first problems McCarthy faces is what is to be done with George Santos–the guy who lied his way into office. ”

      It is likely that Santos will have to deal with the ethics committee, and he will get his wrists slapped.
      he is not the first congressmen that has lied. Schiff, Swallwell come immediately to mind – Warren, Bluementhal.

      Biden has told lies about who he worked for where he worked, what he did, when he did (or did not do it) his entier political carreer – huge whoppers compared to Santos.

      Santos should resign, so should Schiif, Swallwell, Pelosi, Warren. Blumenthal and Biden.
      Give me more time and probably half of congress can be added to that list.

      But just as the democrats I listed are not resigning – neither is Santos. Santos won his district by 6pts. It is highly unlikely any of this had an impact.

      And Biden not merely lied repeatedly to get elective – but actively conspired to censor the truth.

      I am not going to defend Santos – Are you going to stop defending the Democrats who have told far bigger lies to get elected ?

      Katie Hobbs is down in AZ charging 250K to attend her inauguation.

      Santos problem is that he is cheap.

      1. John Say: Finally, some facts we can discuss. You say “Santos will have to deal with the ethics committee, and he will get his wrists slapped”. No he won’t. Yesterday, the GOP majority in the House voted to hobble the Office of Congressional Ethics by limiting the staff of the Office. George Santos called the changes “fantastic”. The GOP is moving rapidly to rescind a lot of Dem House rules so I can understand why you might make premature statements you can’t back up with facts.

        You also claim that Santos “is not the first congressmen that has [sic] lied”. Please explain how what Santos did to get elected compares to anything you allege Schiff, Swallwell, et al have committed. Please provide facts. I’m waiting.

        1. You say “finally facts” – but then you do not discuss actual facts.
          I do not care about staff size. The actual goal of working systems is to get more done with less.

          Regardless, in your diatribe you do not directly address FACTS.

          Republicans created new rules and got rid of old rules (actually the opposite – they mostly restored centuries old rules and got ride of democrat new rules).

          But the above is meaningless.

          It is like saying “I hate change”, or “I want change”

          WHAT CHANGE ?

          If you want to change things so that jews must wear gold stars – I oppose your changes.
          If you want to change it so that any member of congress can offer germain amendments to any legislation up for a vote – I support that change.

          In your whole diatribe you have not addressed ACTUAL FACTS.

          “Yesterday, the GOP majority in the House voted to hobble the Office of Congressional Ethics by limiting the staff of the Office.”
          Typical left wing nut, everything is measures by by money spent or resources directed.

          I said Santos will get his wrist slapped. He is not going to be removed from office. Frankly he is a freshman congressmen,
          there is little they can do to him. They can not take away committee assignments he does not have.

          They are not going to expel him. That has very rarely happened and as I recall only for actual criminal convictions.

          I am not condoning his conduct. He should resign. Schiff should resign, Swallwell should resign. Warren should resign. Blumenthal should resign, Biden should resign.

          But that is not happening. And in comparison to the rest of that list – or others like Pelosi profiting from insider trading – his ethical failures are small.

          “George Santos called the changes “fantastic”.”
          Do I care what Santos calls anything.

          “The GOP is moving rapidly to rescind a lot of Dem House rules”
          Yup, good riddance to masks, the closure of the capital, proxy voting,

          Do you have a new GOP rule that you can explain why that is bad ?
          Do you have a rescinded democrat rule that you can explain why that is good ?

          “So I can understand why you might make premature statements you can’t back up with facts.”

          Unlike you I am somewhat familiar with the new rules republicans enacted (mostly a return to old rules).
          Unlike you I am somewhat familiar with the democratic rules that Republicans removed (mostly a return to old rules).

          If you want to debate specific rule changes go for it.
          Bring Facts.

          “Please explain” Really ? In light of Twitter revalations that Schiff demanded that Twitter AND facebook deplatform journalists that were reporting stories unfavorable to him ?

          Blumenthal said he was a vietnam Vet.

          Biden lied abotu Fracking, lied about his involvement in his sons affairs, and we have actual pols that say that he would have lost 10M votes had democrats know that the Hunter Biden laptop story was true not “russian disinformation”

          Worse still not only did he lie, to get elected – He actually worked to get the truth supressed.

          Are you really so stupid that you think that Santos’s conduct is even consequential in comparison to that of myriads of other elected officials ?

          Schiff lied about and mishandled classified information. Swallwell lied about his involvement with a chinese spy.

          Do I need to go on ?

          One need not “defend” Santos, to note that he is small potatoes compared to the ethical problems of other elected officials – of both parties.

          At the same time lets not pretend that the ethics problems are evenly divided between parties.

          There is not a single sin that some republican somewhere sometime has not committed.

          While I am still waiting to hear from Taibbi about the requests for censorship that came from the Trump Whitehouse – Which Taibbi has not yet seen, but which he was told by Twitter staff exist, Regardless, surely there must have been some. And I will condemn those too.

          But there is no doubt there was no parity.

          There was no doubt that in the 50’s Repubicans were the party of censorship – even though some democrats (the Kenedy’s) were involved.
          There is no doubt that in the 60’s the democrats were the free speech party.

          There is no doubt today that Democrats are the party of censorship and republicans are the party of free speech,
          Even though there are still a few democrats advocating for free speech and a few republicans pushing censorship.

          Democrats own censorship – not because Republicans have successfully painted them that way.

          But Because the CHOSE to own it.
          It is the left that wants safe spaces.
          It is the left that wants uncompfortable speech censored.
          It is the left that avoids debating the issues, and instead lobs racist hateful, hating hater, grenades

        2. “Finally, some facts we can discuss.”

          Where ? Where did you raise a meaningful fact ?

          I will happily debate actual facts.

          You say correctly “Republicans restored some old rules, and got rid of some new ones. ”

          But we can not know whether that was good or bad – without looking at the actual rules – which you never mention.

          You say that Republicans cut ethics committee staff. And that must be bad because George Santos is happy.
          As I said before – nothing consequential is happening to Santos, jsut as nothing happened to a far larger and more consequential set of elected officials right up to Biden.

          You want my agreement that we should hold those in govenrment accountable for lying.
          You got it.

          Santos shoudl resign, Schiff should resign, Swallwell should resign, Warren should resign, bluementhal should resign, Harris should resign, Biden should resign. and on and on.

          But that is not happening, and you just look like a huge hypocrite when you look to impose a political death sentence on only one party for less significant offenses than you have defended in your own.

          And last night CBS reports that Biden Got caught with Classified documents as well as presidential documents given to a UoP think tank in DC.
          With the media saying – this is somehow different.
          Which is true. Biden had no unlimited declassification authority as VP. Nor did Biden have the authority to decide which documents are personal and which are government documents. Finally, while there are myriads of ways that documents can perfectly legally be in the hands of ex-presidents and vice presidents, These documents were with third parties without clearances. There is no doubt the espionage act was violated here. The only question is by whom.

    5. Hillary, and Biden and many other Democrats received foreign money for their campaigns.

      Obama was accepting credit car donations coming from the mid-east.

      Nothing with the FEC will go anywhere consequential. If the FEC had any teeth it would be unconstitutional.
      Frankly they have very little power except over presidential campaigns where there are federal matching funds.
      As I recall Hillary received over 100M in “illegal” campaign donations in 2016 – the FEC ordered her to return them. Others made up the shortfall

      I would further note – it is highly unlikely that a republicans received foreign campaign donations.

      That is not because Republicans are more moral. But because republican policies are not attractive to foreigners.

      China and Russia are not going to contribute to Republicans.
      Just as ActBlue is not going to give money to Trump.

    6. “McCarthy has remained silent about Santos”
      Of course he has – just as Pelosi remained silent about Schiff or Swalwell or numerous other democrats.

      Rep. Porter will likely be in the ethics committee explaining herself right next to Santos.

      The house does not have the power to refuse to seat members – this was decided long ago by the courts.
      With great difficulty they can expel members. That is quite Rare.

      I would not be rushing to get Santos expelled as there are lots of other democrats with bigger problems.

      In 2024 Long Island voters will get to decide if they want to return Santos to the house.

    7. MacCarthy needs nearly every republican vote to do anything – JUst exactly like Pelosi did for the past 2 years.

      The republican margin is EXACTLY what the democrat margin was.

  9. The CBO says that the GOP’s IRS funding bill would reduce spending by $71.5B and reduce revenue by $185.8B. So the House Republicans’ first scored bill under Speaker McCarthy would increase the deficit by $114 billion — by deliberately letting rich people get away with cheating on their taxes.

    1. ‘Anonymous’ from the darkside re: ‘..deliberately letting rich people get away with cheating on their taxes..” the math presented is pure speculation and the logic is nonsense as the GOP to-day is hardly interested in defending ‘rich people’ as the new Reality is that almost all of the Donations from the Wealth Sector goes to the Dems… Wake up!

        1. ‘Anonymou’ from the darkside: if you check Primary Sources instead of MSNBC, you’ll see how off course the views you offer are… there are app. 720 Billionaires in the US.. we don’t need 87,000 new agents to chase down 720.. or the wealthy corps, who all give their donations to the Dems… so… perhaps it really is better if you just stay asleep…rather than pump out such off course views….

          1. Whoever told you that the funds were to hire “87,000 new agents” to focus solely on “billionaires” was lying to you. The new hires would occur over 10 years time, many would not be agents (they’d instead be people like IT technicians and taxpayer services support staff), and good chunk would simply be replacements for the fraction of the current 78,000 employees who leave through retirement/resignation/firing. There was never any proposal to limit tax cheat investigations to billionaires; for example, notes that from “2014–2016, the Inspector General’s report identified nearly 900,000 high-income nonfilers, of which 400,000 cases (44% of cases) were never investigated due to resource constraints,” and they explain “A high-income nonfiler is any nonfiler with total income greater than or equal to $100,000.” I’m clearly more awake than you are.

          2. 87,000 new agents. I still think there will be selective audits and investigations. It will still pay to have big friends in high places.

            1. Again, it will not be 87,000 new AGENTS. The majority of the current staff aren’t agents; of the ~78,000 people who currently work for the IRS, only ~10,000 are agents. Most of the new hires will not be agents either. Most will be IT folks, the people who answer the phone help line, etc.

    2. “. . . increase the deficit by $114 billion”

      So do the obvious: Cut government spending and let people keep a bit more of the money that they have *earned*.

      You gotta love the D’s premise: We own your life and your income. Anything we let you keep is merely a gift.

      P.S. If you think that those IRS agents are going after the rich, then you are woefully ignorant about economics.

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