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Neal Opening Statement at Hearing with IRS Commissioner Werfel

(As prepared for delivery)

Welcome to the Committee on Ways and Means, Commissioner Werfel. It is an honor to have you with us today, and what a start to your time as Commissioner. I want to start by saluting the dedicated workers of the Internal Revenue Service. It is their commitment to taxpayers that has allowed for the Inflation Reduction Act to make such quick headway.

Your testimony comes at an important time for the IRS. Democrats’ multiyear investment in the Internal Revenue Service has already unlocked a new era of service for America’s taxpayers. This filing season alone, Americans experienced a historic level of customer assistance and support: 2 million more calls were answered through live assistance, wait times drastically decreased, new digital tools were introduced, and in-person services at taxpayer assistance centers were expanded. Modernizing the IRS’ systems and making much-needed updates to their technology infrastructure will pay dividends for American taxpayers for decades to come.

The Inflation Reduction Act also reverses decades of Republicans’ targeted cuts to the IRS, taking action to close the tax gap and eliminate our two-tiered tax system. For far too long, the wealthy and well-connected have been able to get away with not paying their fair share at the expense of everyday Americans. The IRS’ recently released Strategic Operating Plan is a strong blueprint for bringing our historic legislation to reality. Soon, the IRS will be better equipped to ensure the top 1% and tax cheats are held accountable.

Once again, the contrast between our achievements and Republican extremism couldn’t be clearer. While Democrats are taking action to regain taxpayers’ trust and build a fairer tax code, just yesterday, Republicans doubled down on undoing this progress and adding to the deficit.  While we are looking out for workers and families, they are shamefully looking out for their own, costing taxpayers over $100 billion. That is sadly not the limit of their extremism – they’ve advocated for legislation that would abolish the IRS in favor of a 30 percent national sales tax. Republicans would Republicans would raise the cost of groceries, gas, medicine, childcare, and just about all aspects of life for the middle class while extending their unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy and well-connected: needless to say, more harm than good.

I look forward to working with you as we continue to implement the Inflation Reduction Act and deliver on our shared commitment of a tax system that works for all Americans.

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