Washington Post fact-checker gives GOP four ‘Pinocchios’ for IRS ‘agents’ claim | The Hill

The Washington Post’s top fact-checker has given the GOP four “Pinocchios” for repeated false claims about federal funding for IRS personnel under President Biden’s administration.

Citing a series of comments made by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and others, the Post’s Glenn Kessler labeled the GOP’s promise to “defund 87,000 IRS agents” a “zombie claim,” describing it as one that keeps “rising from the dead no matter how often they have been fact-checked.”

On Monday, the House passed legislation rescinding an IRS funding boost signed into law last year. The Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act was a key part of the Republican platform ahead of the 2022 midterm elections and promises to rescind “unobligated balances of amounts appropriated or otherwise made available” to the IRS from the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act.

Republicans have repeatedly falsely described the 87,000 new IRS employees, who would be added over the course of a decade, as “agents.”

The 87,000 figure comes from a May 2021 Treasury Department compliance report estimating new hires at the IRS over a decade with the $80 billion funding boost. But only a small portion of the department’s current employees are agents, The Hill previously reported, and the department has said the figure accounts for other workers such as customer service representatives and computer scientists as well as replacements for the 52,000 employees expected to retire or resign within the next six years.

Kessler also took issue with GOP politicians using of the word “agents” in his report.

“We originally gave this claim Three Pinocchios because at least Republicans could point to a number in a Treasury report,” Kessler wrote. “But now, after repeated fact checks, there is really no excuse, and we are upping the rating to Four Pinocchios.”

A representative for McCarthy did not respond to a request for comment on Kessler’s fact-check.



Kevin McCarthy

Steve Scalise

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