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Courtesy: Coalition to Protect American Workers

A conservative anti-tax group views President Biden’s proposal to increase funding for the Internal Revenue Service as a means to sink his tax-and-spend infrastructure package.

Why it matters: By launching a six-figure cable and local TV buy for an ad against first-year Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) and Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), the group is testing a broader potential line of attack against the $2.3 trillion package.

  • “If Joe Biden gets his way, they are coming: IRS agents,” warns the ad’s narrator. “Biden’s massive tax increase plan includes a staggering $80 billion to help recruit an army of IRS agents.”
  • The ad is being run by the Coalition to Protect American Workers, a group with ambitions of raising up to $25 million to prevent the plan from passing Congress.
  • “We plan to make sure that voters hold accountable any member who votes for these massive tax increases,” said Marc Short, who founded the group and formerly served as Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff.

The big picture: Paying for Biden’s infrastructure proposal is emerging as one of the key stumbling blocks to a potential bipartisan deal.

  • Republicans are expected this week to offer their second counterproposal, which could climb as high as $800 billion for hard infrastructure projects like roads, bridges and waterways.
  • While some Democrats, including Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, have suggested user fees to help fund the spending, the White House has rejected them.
  • It argues they would "violate" Biden's promise not to raise taxes on Americans making less than $400,000 annually.

Go deeper: Biden plans to raise $700 billion by investing another $80 billion into tax enforcement at the IRS, to focus on Americans making more than $400,000.

  • The ad conflates Biden’s stated positions — such as increasing funding for the IRS — with accusations “congressional Democrats want to defund the police."
  • That leaves the false impression Democrats want to take money away from police departments so they can shift it to IRS enforcement.

What they're saying: “A massive, bipartisan majority of the American people support making the richest Americans and biggest corporations pay the taxes they owe — without increasing the rate of audits on any people or small-business owners earning less than $400,000 a year — so can we use that money to invest in the middle class," said Michael Gwin, director of White House Rapid Response.

  • "A few special interest-funded ads won’t change that fact or a single mind.”

By the numbers: The conservative group poll-tested their IRS message in both Georgia's 7th District, represented by Bourdeaux, and New Jersey's 5th District, represented by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.).

  • The two districts voted for Donald Trump in 2016 but flipped to Biden in 2020.
  • The group claims 63% of Georgians would oppose a lawmaker who voted for Biden’s IRS plan. In New Jersey, the number was 69%.

But, but, but: The White House likes a poll from Data for Progress, which puts support for increased IRS enforcement at 60%.

Go deeper

Aug 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House Democrats strike deal to advance infrastructure, voting rights proposals

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) departs the House Democratic Caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After hours of infighting, House Democrats on Tuesday struck a deal that would approve their $3.5 trillion budget resolution, set up floor action on the bipartisan infrastructure bill by Sept. 27 and advance voting rights legislation.

Why it matters: The deal is key to advancing Democrats' top three priorities — all of which are expected to receive little to no House Republican support.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 25, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Schumer: Budget plan key to meeting U.S. goals under the Paris deal

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Democrats' spending and tax plan and the bipartisan infrastructure package would together cut greenhouse gas emissions almost enough to meet the U.S. pledge under the Paris Agreement, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

Driving the news: Schumer, in a new letter to Senate colleagues, said his office's analysis of the two proposals shows they would put the U.S. on track to cut emissions around 45% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Aug 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

First look: House Republicans hit inflation, not Afghanistan

Ad screengrab. Courtesy: NRCC

The House Republicans' campaign arm is launching attack ads against 15 Democrats that focus entirely on inflation instead of the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan threatening to undercut Joe Biden’s presidency, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The decision to focus on a domestic issue rather than the foreign policy crisis engulfing the administration highlights the GOP's bedrock belief that kitchen table issues will resonate best with voters in next year's midterms.