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Lawmakers Weigh Responses On IRS Spending Scandal

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An estimated $49 million in conference spending by the IRS between 2010 and 2012 has drawn the ire of Capitol Hill.
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An estimated $49 million in conference spending by the IRS between 2010 and 2012 has drawn the ire of Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers from the Washington area worry revelations of lavish spending at the IRS will further erode confidence in the agency that's requesting more funding.

This week's hearing on the IRS brought about rare bipartisanship on Capitol Hill: both parties are disgusted at the actions of officials at the agency.

Inspectors found that tens of millions of dollars were wasted on conferences with officials opting for upgrades instead of trying to save taxpayer dollars. Now the agency wants a billion dollar budget increase, which Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) says it probably needs.

"I think one of the things the inspector general has uncovered is a pattern of mismanagement, lack of resources, lack of training," Connolly says. "So to further reduce those resources actually will only make the likelihood of these kinds of mistakes recurring even more likely."

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) says Republicans are overreacting as they are now looking to cut the agency's budget further.

"We are probably going to wind up cutting back IRS workforce again, which means that far fewer taxes will be collected, and everybody suffers a little bit," Moran says. "These things are just unfortunate mistakes that the entire public pays a price for."

The top Democrat on the oversight committee, Maryland's Elijah Cummings, says the good news is that acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel is restoring confidence.

"But I think he'll come in. He's going to clean house," Cummings says. "I think you may see some more people fired, or dismissed, suspended. I think that he will be able to let us know how much more needs to be done."

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