Ryan Opening Statement: Markup of Bills to Reform the IRS and Repeal the Death Tax
WASHINGTON — Today, Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) delivered the following opening statement during a markup of bills to reform the IRS and repeal the death tax.
"So, we're marking up a lot of bills today. But the point we're trying to make here is this: The IRS works for the taxpayer, not the other way around. It's their job to make doing your taxes as easy as possible. And so the burden is on them to prove any wrongdoing. The burden is on them to protect people's privacy. And the burden is on them to tell taxpayers their rights. That's the attitude they should have.
"But that's definitely not the attitude they have today. If our investigations have shown us anything, it's that bureaucracies don't do what's efficient. They do what's convenient—at least, what's convenient for them.
"Well, principles aren't always convenient. And what we have here is a matter of principle. So we're going to insist that the IRS do their job—the right way.
"Now, these reforms are simply common sense. All we're saying are things like, 'Don't target people because of their political beliefs. Don't tax donations to tax-exempt groups. Don't send taxpayer information to your private email.' Pretty simple stuff.
"And there's another thing we've learned. And that is, this kind of mischief grows in the shade. We found out about this stuff because we dug deep. The only way to hold big bureaucracies accountable is through rigorous, effective oversight.
"But the thought I want to close with is this: All the confusion, all the unfairness and frustration—all this comes from the fact that our tax code is a mess. It's way too complicated. It punishes people for working, saving, investing—all the things we need to build a healthy economy. Sometimes it even punishes people from beyond the grave.
"That's why today we're here to repeal the death tax. People work hard and pay taxes all their lives. They've earned the right to leave something for their kids—often a family business—without being penalized for it. And this tax doesn't just hit the big guy. It hits the little guy—like the small business and the family farm. It is both unwise and unfair, and it needs to go.
"In fact, we need to replace our whole tax code. We need to make it simpler, flatter, and fairer. That would create more opportunity in our country. And it would build a healthier economy for all. So I'm glad we're taking a step in that direction today. And I'm glad we're putting hardworking taxpayers and their concerns front and center."