House Rules Committee Democrats killed an amendment offered by Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) that would have redirected billions of tax dollars that the Senate has slated for hiring 87,000 new IRS agents to instead hire thousands of new border security personnel.
No changes were allowed by the Democratic majority to the Senate version of the Inflation Reduction Act approved by the Senate on Aug. 7 in a 51–50 vote; Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote in the evenly split chamber.
The measure includes $80 billion to hire the additional IRS agents—an expansion that would double the federal tax agency's workforce. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plans to put the legislation up for a vote in the chamber on Aug. 12.
The committee's rejection of the Budd proposal spared Democrats in the chamber from a vote that would have put them on record favoring either doubling the size of the IRS or taking dramatic measures toward restoring control of the U.S. southern border, where record numbers of illegal immigrants have flooded into the country, along with unprecedented amounts of illegal, deadly drugs, including fentanyl.
With President Joe Biden's popularity at record low levels, Republicans appear headed to regain the House majority in November's midterm elections and could retake control of the Senate as well. With inflation roaring at the worst levels since 1981 and most Americans struggling to keep up with spiraling gas and food prices, voting to double the size of the federal tax agency could hurt Democrats who are facing tough reelection campaigns.
Budd couldn't be reached for comment on the committee's refusal to allow debate on his amendment.
Other ProvisionsIf Budd's amendment were to become law, it would have redirected $69 billion of the $80 billion in funding to hire 10,000 additional Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents and 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to restore control of the U.S. border with Mexico and stop the flood of illegal immigrants and illegal drugs coming into the country. Also to be hired under the proposal are 366 additional Immigration Court judges and 60 additional immigration appeals attorneys.
In addition, the amendment incorporates legislation previously proposed by Budd that provides that "not later than 24 hours after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall resume any project relating to the construction of physical barriers, tactical infrastructure, and technology along the international border between the United States and Mexico that were underway, or being planned for, prior to January 20, 2021."
To ensure construction resumes, the amendment further provides that "the [DHS] Secretary may not cancel any contract for activities related to the construction of the border barrier system that was entered into on or before January 20, 2021."
And the amendment requires DHS to "ensure that all agreements executed in writing between the department and private citizens, state, local, or tribal governments, or other stakeholders are honored by the department relating to current and future construction of the border barrier system as required by such agreements."
Budd is battling his Democratic opponent, former state Supreme Court Judge Cheri Beasley, in the North Carolina Senate race to succeed retiring Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). Budd has been a strong and vocal supporter of Trump, who has endorsed his Senate candidacy.