Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

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May 23, 2013

Grassley: Fear of giving IRS more power "comes up a lot"

Knoxville — The 2010 health care reform law, referred to as the Affordable Health Care Act, grants the Internal Revenue Service more powers and control over Americans' health care. The recent scandal, in which it was discovered that conservative organizations' applications for nonprofit status were delayed by the IRS, has caused concern about the IRS's expanded powers among Republicans and Democrats. 

"It comes up a lot," Sen. Chuck Grassley told the Journal-Express this afternoon. He hears it more from his fellow Republicans, but there are Democrats who are concerned about this authority.

Grassley said the IRS is already intimidating. He was involved in efforts years ago to restructure the IRS, as at that time, the bureau was making things difficult for small business owners. 

These changes allowed IRS officials to be fired without a hearing. Problems still exist, and Grassley believes, they will continue to, as long as the current tax code is in place. He believes if a flat tax was implemented, there would be less power granted to the IRS. 

Iowa's Congressional Delegation tried to fight the Department of Veterans Affairs decision to remove inpatient services from the Knoxville campus. They were unsuccessful. The IRS is a similar, large agency, and Grassley was asked how much of an impact a single legislator could have in making changes to the IRS.

Grassley responded by saying that, as the country's lawmakers, they can change the laws at any time to affect the actions of a federal agency. 

Grassley is also concerned about the IRS's demands to know the contents of an Iowa organization's prayers and making such political requests as asking right to life organizations to not protest in front of Planned Parenthood.

"You can't have the IRS tell you when you can speak and not speak," Grassley said. This goes against freedom of speech and religion, he added. 

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