House Republicans are determined to take a stand against the IRS.
Fighting back against what they called a “blatant attempt to silence political speech,” Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee voted Tuesday to delay new Internal Revenue Service rules covering how non-profits get tax exempt status.
The Obama administration’s Treasury Department argues the new rules are aimed at clearing up ambiguities, but Republicans and the conservative groups that were targeted by the IRS in the years leading up to Obama’s re-election in 2012 say the regulations are just giving legal cover to political targeting the president himself once called “outrageous.”
“The notion that the administration would rush forward with rules intended to remove these groups from the public forum is simply unacceptable,” said Ways and Means Chairman David Camp, R-Mich., according to Fox News.
“I have long made clear that this committee will fight any and all efforts to restrict the rights of groups to organize, speak out and educate the public.”
Camp’s committee isn’t the only one fighting.
Last week, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee heard riveting testimony from Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of True the Vote voter integrity group, who described how the manufacturing business she owns with her husband was targeted by the IRS and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after she became politically active. (See: Chilling video: True the Vote founder’s riveting details of harassment by Obama’s ‘political machine’)
The Ways and Means Committee bill to delay the regulations passed on a party-line vote, 23-13, and it likely has little chance of eventually passing, since Democrats hold the Senate.
But the symbolism of the vote – and the stakes at issue – are unmistakable.
“Make no mistake about it: the Obama administration is doing this as a blatant attempt to silence political speech,” Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., said in a statement.