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Ryan Opening Statement: Markup of Bills to Reform the IRS and Repeal the Death Tax

March 25, 2015

WASHINGTON Today, Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the following opening statement during a markup of bills to reform the IRS and repeal the death tax.

“So, were marking up a lot of bills today. But the point were trying to make here is this: The IRS works for the taxpayer, not the other way around. Its their job to make doing your taxes as easy as possible. And so the burden is on them to prove any wrongdoing. The burden is on them to protect peoples privacy. And the burden is on them to tell taxpayers their rights. Thats the attitude they should have.

“But thats definitely not the attitude they have today. If our investigations have shown us anything, its that bureaucracies dont do whats efficient. They do whats convenientat least, whats convenient for them.

“Well, principles arent always convenient. And what we have here is a matter of principle. So were going to insist that the IRS do their jobthe right way.

“Now, these reforms are simply common sense. All were saying are things like, Dont target people because of their political beliefs. Dont tax donations to tax-exempt groups. Dont send taxpayer information to your private email. Pretty simple stuff.

“And theres another thing weve learned. And that is, this kind of mischief grows in the shade. We found out about this stuff because we dug deep. The only way to hold big bureaucracies accountable is through rigorous, effective oversight.

“But the thought I want to close with is this: All the confusion, all the unfairness and frustrationall this comes from the fact that our tax code is a mess. Its way too complicated. It punishes people for working, saving, investingall the things we need to build a healthy economy. Sometimes it even punishes people from beyond the grave.

“Thats why today were here to repeal the death tax. People work hard and pay taxes all their lives. Theyve earned the right to leave something for their kidsoften a family businesswithout being penalized for it. And this tax doesnt just hit the big guy. It hits the little guylike the small business and the family farm. It is both unwise and unfair, and it needs to go.

“In fact, we need to replace our whole tax code. We need to make it simpler, flatter, and fairer. That would create more opportunity in our country. And it would build a healthier economy for all. So Im glad were taking a step in that direction today. And Im glad were putting hardworking taxpayers and their concerns front and center.”