The House is currently debating H.R. 3056, which would ban the IRS from commissioning private debt collectors to scare up back taxes owed to the government. Each successful collection earns the private collector a 25% commission, providing a powerful incentive to employ deceptive tactics. The measure should sail effortlessly through the House, but its fate in the Senate remains murky. [GovExec]

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  1. jwarner132 says:

    We elect Senators in the same way we do Representatives, so why are the Senate and the House so different sometimes?

  2. Adam291 says:

    Senators have to represent their entire state, which means a wider range of ideas. House districts are generally drawn up these days to have mostly the same political leanings. That’s of course, what a politician would tell you.

    Probably more important is that Senators are considered to be more powerful, which means more ‘politics’ take place. Senators are more likely to vote for and against things they normally wouldn’t because it would give them an ally for their own bills in the future. Plus you have lobbyists and political debts owed from campaign contributions. The Senate is lobbied much more heavily than the House because it’s cheaper to pay off 100 people than 435.

  3. GearheadGeek says:

    @Adam291: Insufficient cynicism! “It’s cheaper to pay off 60 people than 218″ would be more to the point, since lobbyists want to keep some of the money for their lavish houses, boats, vacations, etc.

  4. BStu says:

    One might also note that Senators, being elected for 6 year terms, are as a body somewhat less prone to election year posturing which can be both good or bad depending on your feelings about what is being postured.

    I have to say, I’m not sure where I’d lie on this. I’d rather the IRS do this work, but the current administration has been starving the IRS budget to force this kind of “out-sourcing”. My worry, and perhaps the Senate’s worry, is that the responsibility to collect from tax dodgers would go unfilled without private collection agencies. Its a tough call, because in a year and a half there will be new leadership in the executive branch and they may or may not allow the IRS to do its job. Do you legislate forward or for the current administration? Do you reform collection outsourcing but risk establishing the use of private collectors going forward, or do you ban it outright and risk those responsibilities going willfully ignored by an uncooperative executive branch?

  5. Lordstrom says:

    “which would ban the IRS”

    Oh how I wish the sentence stopped there.