House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp said Thursday the IRS can't be trusted to oversee Obamacare and that Americans are at risk of having their identities and private taxpayer information stolen as a result of the healthcare reform law.
"As if Americans didn't have enough reason to fear the IRS, we now know that it is in no position to implement the 47 new powers and authority given to it under the healthcare law," the Michigan Republican said at committee hearing, The Hill reported
"In fact, it is likely that Americans will be at even greater risk of having their identity stolen or private taxpayer information leaked as result of the law."
The comments were similar to those of other Republicans who, having failed to repeal Obamacare through legislation, are now trying to derail it by focusing criticism on the embattled IRS, which is already under fire from Congress for its targeting last year of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status
Danny Werfel, acting head of the IRS, told legislators Thursday that precautions are being taken to make sure that personal tax information is protected under the healthcare law.
"There are all kinds of safeguards and procedures that we put in place when we share taxpayer information outside of the IRS," he told committee members.
But GOP lawmakers pointed to claims by conservative groups like the National Organization for Marriage that IRS agents have leaked information about their donors for political reasons, according to The Hill.
"The government was investigating people and targeting them based upon their political views. That's not phony; that's real," House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan told Werfel.
Democrats rejected Ryan's claim. According to The Hill, Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington accused Republicans of using the IRS controversy over conservative groups as "a desperate, 11th hour attempt to stop a law that will help Americans."
The House is expected to vote Friday on a Republican-sponsored bill dubbed "Keep the IRS Off Your Healthcare Act," which would block funding for the agency to prevent it from carrying out its enforcement responsibilities under the law.
The vote will be what amounts to the GOP's 40th attempt to either repeal Obamacare or cut off any funding that can be used to implement the law when it goes into full effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
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