Before Capitol Hill cleared out for the July 4th holiday, the House approved an
But the bill is noteworthy for what isn't in it.
The House removed a provision that would have eliminated funding for the private collection of tax debts.
The outsourcing of tax collection has been a contentious issue for the last several years. Even before the current program began last fall, some lawmakers began working to kill it. The House did in fact approve outright repeal of the program last year, but since the Senate failed to act, the program continued. (You can read the pro-con saga in this collection of blog postings.)
This year, opponents took another approach. They inserted language in the 2008 budget limiting the IRS to no more than
But when it came to a vote on
Privately raking in the tax dough: Enough Representatives also were apparently swayed by the dollars that the IRS says the program will bring in
Opponents of private tax collection vowed to keep fighting. "There is clearly a consensus in the Congress to end the ongoing abuses in the IRS' private tax collection program, and that consensus won't be thwarted by procedural gimmicks," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. "We are determined to end this kind of bounty-hunting activity once for all."
The appropriations measure also must clear the Senate, which has a private tax-debt collection ally in Senate Finance Committee ranking member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who earlier this year wrote his colleagues urging their support of the program.
Ultimately, any funding measure must go to the president for signature. And while the White House supports private tax collection, a spokesman for the president said Dubya might veto the entire bill if it
exceeded his recommended budget amounts, which the House bill does by