Jul 2, 2021 - Politics & Policy

First look: Conservatives attack own over IRS

A screenshot shows a snippet of a TV ad being run against Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas.
A screenshot of an ad being run against Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) Via Coalition to Protect American Workers

A conservative group focused on pressuring House Democrats to oppose President Biden's plan to increase funding for the Internal Revenue Service is now targeting fellow Republicans, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: By running a six-figure ad targeting Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), the Coalition to Protect American Workers is opening a new front in the fight over how to pay for Biden’s spending proposals, including the $579 billion bipartisan infrastructure package.

  • “If Joe Biden gets his way, they are coming: IRS agents,” the ad begins. It closes with, “We need Senator Moran to step up and stop Biden’s radical plan.”
  • Moran was the last Republican to join the so-called G20, a group of 20 senators working to reach an infrastructure compromise with the White House. His addition rebranded the group the G21.
  • The 30-second spot is a version of an ad the group unveiled in May, targeting House Democrats in swing districts.

The initial buy is in the six figures and will run across Kansas for two weeks, starting Tuesday, according to Katie Miller, communications director at CPAW.

  • The group was co-founded by Marc Short, chief of staff to former Vice President Mike Pence.

The big picture: In Biden’s initial infrastructure plan, he proposed giving the IRS an extra $80 billion to help it collect an additional $700 billion over 10 years.

  • While Republicans roundly questioned that math, some senators suggested a willingness to give the IRS additional money, which saw its funding decline during the Trump years.
  • The bipartisan group agreed on an extra $40 billion for tax enforcement, which Republicans believe will raise an additional $60 billion.

The intrigue: Conservative GOP senators are deeply skeptical of the plan to "super-size" the IRS’s funding, Axios reported Wednesday.

  • Among those expressing doubt is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who was part of the G20. He said, “A lot of this can be pie in the sky.”

The bottom line: The conservative group, which has ambitions to raise $25 million, is planning ads against other Republicans, creating another potential roadblock to a bipartisan deal.

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