WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) today delivered the following opening statement at a markup of two bipartisan proposals that will hold the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accountable and bring relief to rural hospitals.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Good afternoon and thank you for joining us. Today, our Committee is considering two bills that take important steps to protect Americans from Washington overreach.
“These bills help advance two major priorities for our Committee:
- Preserving access to high-quality health care; and
- Holding the IRS more accountable to American taxpayers
“We’ll start with H.R. 5613, the Continuing Access to Hospitals Act of 2016 authored by Congresswoman Jenkins. This legislation will help protect access to health care in rural communities by providing needed regulatory relief to Critical Access Hospitals.
“These are hospitals that are located in sparse rural areas and are frequently the only way for people in rural communities to get the care they need.
“By further delaying a burdensome CMS regulation through 2016, Congresswoman Jenkins’ legislation helps ensure that patients have full access to health care in their communities.
“Our second bill today is H.R. 5523, the Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act. This bipartisan legislation by Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam takes a strong stand for taxpayer rights by reining-in the IRS’s civil asset forfeiture authority.
“For nearly two years, our Oversight Subcommittee has been investigating the IRS’s use of civil asset forfeiture authority to illegally seize the financial assets of law-abiding Americans. What we have seen is disturbing.
“On numerous occasions, the IRS has frozen the bank accounts of innocent small business owners simply because they had a record of bank deposits that looked suspicious. Many of them were forced to forfeit their hard earned dollars to the government despite the fact that they had done nothing wrong.
“Mr. Roskam’s bipartisan legislation puts in place important safeguards to help ensure the IRS’s civil asset forfeiture authority cannot be used to wrongfully seize the assets of honest taxpayers. And his bill is named after hardworking taxpayers who were victims of IRS abuse.
“Before the agency can seize the assets of any taxpayer, the Roskam bill requires the IRS to show probable cause that funds were derived from an illegal source. And if a person or small business owner’s assets are seized, the bill institutes a post-seizure hearing to ensure there is transparency and accountability.
“In closing, I want to thank Mr. Roskam and Ms. Jenkins for their hard work in developing these two bills. These are needed solutions that will help the American people, and I hope our Committee will advance them today with strong bipartisan support.
“I’ll now yield to Ranking Member Levin for his opening remarks.”