On The Money – Yellen eyes $80 billion raise to ‘transform’ the IRS

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is preparing the IRS for an overhaul of the US tax collection system. We’ll also look at what Biden administration officials have to say about extending the current student loan freeze, TikTok’s crackdown on influencers’ paid political ads ahead of midterms, and more.

But first, Solange Knowles makes history.

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Yellen prepares the IRS for an overhaul

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen prepares the IRS for an overhaul of the US tax collection system made possible by an $80 billion funding boost for the agency included in the US Inflation Reduction Act democrats.

In a Wednesday memo from Yellen to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig obtained by The Hill, Yellen said she was giving the IRS six months to provide a thorough operational plan to determine exactly how that $80 billion should be. expenses.

  • Many Democrats have long viewed the IRS as chronically underfunded, but the $80 billion allocated to the agency infuriates Republicans. GOP lawmakers say the funding will be used to hire tens of thousands more IRS agents and lead to increased tax audits on those earning $400,000 or less.
  • However, Yellen has previously said the money should not be used to conduct additional tax checks on Americans below that threshold. In the memo, Yellen again emphasized that “these investments will not result in households earning $400,000 a year or less or small businesses seeing an increase in their chances of being audited from historic levels.” “.
  • Still, Republicans pointed to a May 2021 Treasury report that found an IRA-like funding boost could allow the Treasury to hire 86,852 new full-time employees, and claimed that audits would increase on the middle class.

In interviews with The Hill, law enforcement officers from the IRS’ Criminal Investigations Division also pushed back against this characterization of the IRS’ work, saying that “much of the administration’s work IRS tax is performed by civilian auditors and revenue collectors”.

However, many new civilian auditors will be hired, the IRS anticipates a wave of retirements coming from the agency. In his memo, Yellen said it was a priority “to replace the attrition looming on the horizon of the planned retirement of at least 50,000 IRS employees over the next five years. “.

Tobias Burns from The Hill has the details here.

LEADING THE DAY

Cardona says student borrowers will know ‘soon’ if payment break is extended

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona didn’t say in a recent interview if the Biden administration plans to extend the current freeze on federal student loan repayments, but he said a decision would be made “soon.” .

“While I don’t have an announcement here today, I will tell you that we are having daily conversations with the White House and borrowers will hear directly from us soon when a decision is made,” Cardona said during from an interview on “CBS The Mornings.”

  • A nationwide pause on federal student loan payments and interest accrual is set to expire at the end of August, having been extended several times under previous and current administrations since the start of the pandemic. of COVID-19.
  • Advocates and Democrats have been pushing for the pause to be extended again to provide further relief to borrowers, especially as rising inflation has pushed up the cost of goods this year.
  • At the same time, President Biden has also faced increasing pressure from lawyers and members of his own party to grant widespread debt cancellation in the form of a $10,000 forgiveness. $ or $50,000 loans.

However, administration officials have not publicly determined their plans for a pardon or extending the repayment pause. Cardona was pressed for the heist which has kept officials from making a decision so far.

“I can’t get into the conversations we have on a daily basis, but I will tell you that from day one, the president has been very clear about making sure we lead with the students first,” a- he declared.

Aris has more here.

CRACK DOWN

TikTok to crack down on paid political ads from influencers ahead of midterms

TikTok will label all content related to midterms and crack down on paid political ads from influencers as part of its plans to prepare for the upcoming election, the company said Wednesday.

The popular video-sharing app will tag content identified as election-related and all content from accounts belonging to governments, politicians and political parties in the United States.

  • TikTok’s announcement comes as other platforms, such as Meta, roll out plans to tackle election misinformation. Social media companies have come under intense scrutiny in recent election cycles for their handling of misinformation.
  • The app faces another facet of scrutiny over national security concerns stemming from fears that the Chinese government could access US user information through user data on TikTok, which is owned by Beijing-based Bytedance. .

Rebecca Klar of The Hill has more information here.

WAY TO COME

Capping prescription drug price increases most popular aspect of Cut Inflation Act: poll

A cap on price increases for prescription drugs is the most popular part of the Cut Inflation Act, the $430 billion climate, health care and tax package that President Biden enacted on Tuesday, according to a Politico-Morning Consult poll.

The poll found that 76% of respondents strongly or somewhat support imposing a limit on the amount that prescription drugs can increase, while only 13% strongly or somewhat oppose it.

  • More than 70% strongly or somewhat support the law’s provisions allowing Medicare to directly negotiate some prescription drug prices and reduce the federal deficit by $300 billion over the next decade. just more than
    10% oppose these provisions.
  • More than 70% also support the law limiting annual expenses for Medicare beneficiaries to $2,000, while 15% oppose it.

Jared Gans of The Hill has the breakdown here.

Good to know

Renewables will account for nearly a quarter of electricity generated in the United States this year, according to projections by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The number represents an increase from 2020 and 2021, which both saw around 20% generation from renewables. The EIA further predicts that the proportion will increase to 24% renewable energy in 2023.

Here’s what else we’ve got our eyes on:

  • The Department of Energy announced on Wednesday that it is investing
    $45 million in cybertechnology that will protect the power grid sector from cyberattacks.
  • AP: “Federal Reserve officials saw signs of weakening in the U.S. economy at their last meeting, but still called inflation ‘too high,’ before raising their interest rate. three-quarter point benchmark interest in their drive to slow the price spike.”

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finances page for the latest news and coverage. Well see you tomorrow.

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