WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) today delivered the following opening statement at a full Committee markup of bills to redesign the IRS and strengthen taxpayer protections from the Subcommittees on Oversight, Trade, and Social Security.
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Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Good morning. Today our Committee will consider measures crafted over the past two years by Democrats and Republicans working together to redesign the Internal Revenue Service, protect your private taxpayer information, and prevent identity theft of your Social Security numbers.
“First, we’ll consider a bipartisan package put forth by Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Lynn Jenkins and the Ranking Member John Lewis that boldly rethinks the Internal Revenue Service as we know it. It’s been 20 years since Congress and the Ways & Means Committee last considered major legislation to overhaul the IRS. During that time much has changed, and the IRS must change with it.
“The bills we have before us today look to dramatically redesign the structure of the IRS and refocus it as a ‘Taxpayer First’ agency. They advance a modern vision for the IRS so taxpayers are treated fairly, their disputes are handled objectively, and issues resolved quickly and more affordably. They create an independent office to handle taxpayer appeals and ensure taxpayers are no longer at a disadvantage to the IRS. They also insist that the IRS aggressively protects personal taxpayer information, proactively combats identity theft, and is prepared to readily assist American taxpayers when they are victims of this theft.
“It is our goal to build a ‘Taxpayer First’ IRS that works for taxpayers, not against them. Thank you, Subcommittee Chairman Jenkins and Ranking Member Lewis, for your work on this important transformation of the IRS.
“We will also consider three bills in our Trade and Social Security jurisdiction aimed at reducing identity theft and fraud. At a time when identity theft and credit card fraud have become so widespread, Congress must do more to ensure that personally identifiable information held by the federal government is protected. Recently, I learned someone had fraudulently applied for my Social Security benefits. Regrettably, as so many Americans have discovered, I’m not alone in that attempted theft.
“The ‘Moving Americans Privacy Protection Act’ is a bipartisan bill authored by Congressman Jeff Denham and Congressman Bill Pascrell that looks to put an end to the inadvertent disclosure of personally identifiable information – such as Social Security numbers and passport numbers — when Customs and Border Protection releases certain shipment data.
“In addition, we’ll consider two bills that will help better protect our children from identity theft. Children are especially vulnerable to identity theft because they don’t work, drive, or establish credit – extending the time an identity thief can use a stolen Social Security card without being noticed.
“The ‘Social Security Child Protection Act,’ introduced by Congressman Kenny Marchant and Congressman Lloyd Doggett, will require the Social Security Administration to issue a new Social Security number to a child whose Social Security card has been stolen in transit.
“Finally, Congressman Carlos Curbelo’s ‘Protecting Children from Identity Theft Act’ will reduce synthetic identity fraud by stopping fraudsters from creating fake identities by using a real Social Security number and fake name to access credit.
“So many members on and off this committee crafted the legislation before us today. On behalf of taxpayers looking to Congress for solutions to the IRS and identify theft, thank you for your hard work and leadership. This collection of targeted, bipartisan solutions will help address problems that many Americans struggle with. By passing these bills, we can take meaningful action to improve the lives of all taxpayers.”