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MS Republican Senators, Congressmen...

MS Republican Senators, Congressmen fight Democrats’ effort to allow IRS snooping into bank accounts

By: Anne Summerhays - October 22, 2021

Wicker, Hyde-Smith, Guest, Palazzo, Kelly speak on efforts to block the IRS proposal.

As part of its “Build Back Better” plan, the Biden Administration has proposed implementing what amounts to a surveillance regime, according to Republican lawmakers.

The initial plan would require banks and other financial institutions to provide the IRS details on their customers and data for accounts with deposits or withdrawals worth more than $600. Now, some Democrats are saying that threshold can be moved to $10,000. Mississippi Republican Senators and Congressmen say neither is acceptable.

On Thursday, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith helped introduce the Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act. This piece of legislation will prevent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from implementing the Democrats’ plan to give the agency access to transaction information of virtually every American.

“The IRS has no business micromanaging the private transactions of American citizens,” Senator Wicker said.  “I am also strongly opposed to any effort from national Democrats to squeeze taxpayers for a massive expansion of federal spending.  The Biden Administration should withdraw this outrageous and absurd proposal immediately.”

The Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act would prohibit the Biden administration’s proposed violation of privacy and federal government overreach through restrictions on the U.S. Treasury and IRS.

“Every taxpayer should pay their due, but that doesn’t mean President Biden’s plan to expand the federal government should result in growing the IRS to collect the details on personal financial information of virtually every Mississippian,” Senator Hyde-Smith said. “I fully support Senator Scott’s legislation to put a hard stop to this dangerous tax surveillance dragnet.”

Yesterday, Congressmen Michael Guest and Steven Palazzo joined 200 of their colleagues in writing a letter to Treasury Secretary Yellen to reassert their concerns with the Administration’s IRS proposal.

The Congressmen and their colleagues ask Treasury Secretary Yellen to abandon the proposal and encourage Congressional Democrats to do the same.

“We must protect Americans and our financial system, not make them the victim of government outreach in the name of revenue,”  the group wrote.

Guest commented further, saying the White House-backed plan is an invasion of privacy.

“The White House plan to review American bank accounts is an invasion of privacy, increases the risk of data breaches, & creates an immense reporting burden on financial institutions. There is no reason that justifies a government surveillance program that allows the IRS to monitor and track the bank transactions of Americans. The passage of this bill would secure the privacy of U.S. citizens from this potential government overreach,” Congressman Guest said.

Congressman Palazzo wrote on Twitter that “Americans value and deserve privacy, ESPECIALLY when it comes to their finances.”

Palazzo co-sponsored the bill to prohibit agencies such as the IRS from forcing data reports that overburden small credit unions and jeopardizes the safety of personal sensitive information.

Congressman Trent Kelly, too, is concerned with the blatant overreach.

“The IRS proposal to require financial institutions to report deposit and withdrawal information on bank accounts with a balance of $600 or more is blatant federal government overreach, giving the IRS license to spy on American families, farmers, and small businesses,” Kelly said in a statement.

Congressman Bennie Thompson, the state’s lone Democrat in Congress, has not released a public position on the issue to date, either on their social media accounts or through press statements.


NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect comments received by Congressman Kelly.

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne:
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