'Mr. Nothing Burger has condiments': Ted Cruz fried for spreading debunked '87,000 IRS agents' claim
United States Senator Ted Cruz made several false claims Sunday evening while discussing the continued debt deal fight between Republican and Democratic lawmakers.
The senator shared a clip from his Fox News Sunday with Shannon Bream interview, writing, "Democrats want an army of IRS agents to harass the American people. I've yet to find someone in Texas who wants 87,000 new IRS agents!"
Cruz began saying, "There's one person on planet Earth with the power to ensure that we don't have a default and you just played him a moment ago. His name is Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. A responsible president would've stood up at that press conference and said, 'Understand and hear me now, the United States of America will never, ever, ever default on our debts. We will pay the interests of our debts. The president can say that. Why can he say that? He can say that because every month, revenue from federal taxes exceeds the interest on the debt. He could take default off the table. Joe Biden doesn't wanna take default off the table, why? Because he wants to scaremonger. He wants to scare people into saying, 'Look at this bad thing that, I, Joe Biden am threatening is going to happen. The only result is to leave $32 trillion in debt."
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The GOP senator continued, "You know what's amazing, Shannon? Biden's position is way to the left of most Democrats. Recent polling shows 58 percent of Democrats think that we should have reasonable deficit reduction as part of raising the debt ceiling. And yet, Joe Biden's position is 'absolutely not.'"
NPR reported, "some Democrats on Capitol Hill are" actually "growing increasingly worried that President Biden will give into too many demands from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in continuing talks over a deal to avoid a historic debt default."
Furthermore, the news outlet noted, "Biden and McCarthy both expressed optimism that a deal could get done," with McCarthy saying Thursday, "I see the path that we could come to an agreement. And I think we have a structure now and everybody's working hard."
Bream interrupted Cruz, saying, "I was gonna say, that's the accusation on both sides. That both sides are being controlled by the extremes of their party. Um, you would say the left and many others, Republicans, will say, 'it's the progressives. It's the squad. It's the people who say they won't even entertain work requirements, um, for government assistance,' those kinds of things. But the White House continues to say —By the way, we invited somebody from the White House to come on, they chose not to come on and talk about the debt ceiling today, but they did send us several memos. And one of them, um, uses a lot of language referring to you and your party, as extreme. 'You've taken the economy hostage, you're fighting tooth and nail to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations.'"
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Cruz replied, "You know, you're right. They use a lot of angry rhetoric and they call everyone else extreme. This is where actually truth and substance matters. If you look at the bill the House passed, it's a very reasonable bill. The bill the House passed saves $4.8 trillion over 10 years. Now that's a reasonable down payment. We owe $32 trillion, so that's not trying to solve it all but it's taking a reasonable step to solve it. Now how does it do it? The big thing it does is it reduces spending from current levels to what we were spending in 2022, in other words, five months ago. The Biden White House says, 'These are draconian cuts, the world will end.' I will ask you, Shannon, in December 2022, Christmas time, did you think suddenly the federal government had, had withered away — just reducing it by, to what it was five months ago. And then allowing it to grow 1 percent a year results in those savings."
"But the Democrats are all in. They wanna spend, for example, on 87,000 new IRS agents. They want those IRS agents to harass the American people, and Joe Biden says 'it's extreme' not to give them this army of IRS agents. Joe Biden wants to spend $30 billion that was appropriated for COVID funds. Now Biden has declared the COVID emergency over, but he wants a $30 billion slush fund that hasn't been spent. I think what the House has done is very reasonable and I'll tell you what Biden and the Democrats hate the most, are work requirements for welfare. Listen, I believe if you're an able-bodied man, you outta be working. And I think work requirements are one of the most compassionate things you can do cuz they get people back into the work force, back supplying for their family, and Joe Biden is threatening to veto the whole thing and default on the debt because he is so opposed to getting people back to work. That's an extreme party."
In 2022, The New York Times debunked Cruz's claim regarding "87,000 new IRS agents," reporting:
These claims are misleading. The 87,000 figure refers to a May 2021 estimate from the Treasury Department of the total number of employees — not just auditors — the I.R.S. proposes to hire over the next 10 years with funding requested by Mr. Biden. And while the I.R.S. plans to conduct more audits, wealthy Americans and businesses will bear the brunt of that scrutiny, not, as Republicans have suggested, working families.
Among the I.R.S.’s work force of about 79,000 employees, 10,000 are actually agents. (Of those, 8,000 are revenue agents who audit tax filings and 2,000 are special agents who investigate potential tax crimes.) In fact, the two most common I.R.S. jobs have little to do with tax auditing or investigations: about 13,000 are customer service representatives who answer taxpayer phone calls and 10,000 are seasonal employees who file mail or transcribe data. Other jobs include lawyers, examiners, technicians and appeals officers.
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Additionally, The Times reports, "In the past decade, tax audit rates have fallen most starkly for higher income earners, which the I.R.S. attributes to diminished resources and therefore its inability to retain specialized auditors needed to examine the filings of the wealthy," adding, "Increasing funding for the I.R.S., the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in September 2021, would address those needs and result in increased audit rates for everyone, particularly for high-income earners."
Furthermore, Regarding Cruz's work requirement argument, The Post reported last month, "The debate in some ways resembles the Republican-led campaign against so-called welfare queens in the 1990s, when a politically resurgent GOP—then under the leadership of House Speaker Newt Gingrich—secured a dramatic restructuring of the government's social safety net. The resulting overhaul, enacted by President Bill Clinton, slashed cash benefits for millions of Americans in ways that GOP leaders now cite as a model."
Patriotic Millionaires, a group that supports tax hikes on the rich, tweeted last month, "The legislators that want new work requirements for food stamps and Medicaid are the same ones working to eliminate the estate tax so that billionaire heirs never have to work a day in their lives," adding, "It's not about work, it's about hurting the poor."
Cruz's tweet significantly backfired.
@shedsquatch: "Mr. Nothing Burger has condiments."
Rep. Dan Goldman: "Odd timing from someone who says we need to decrease the deficit if we pay our bills. The law that was passed that adds IRS agents reduces the deficit by $114bn. Yet @tedcruz wants to undo the law and add $114bn to our deficit. Hypocrite."
Andrew Wortman: ".@tedcruz: This is a LIE. It was debunked LAST YEAR. The funding provided to the IRS was in part to facilitate them hiring 87,000 employees OVER THE COURSE OF TEN YEARS, also helping to make up for agents who retire or leave during that time. Why are you dredging up old lies?"
READ MORE: GOP ramps up cruel push for work requirements
@File411: "Dear Lyin' @tedcruz THIS. IS. A LIE. You are a liar You are lying Stop lying and for once in your life start telling the truth."
Brian Tyler Cohen: "In 2022, before Dems funded the IRS, only 15% of live calls were answered. By 2023 it was 87%. The IRS cut phone wait times from 27 min to 4 min, served 100k more taxpayers in-person, digitized 80x more returns than in 2022. Ted wants it undone so his rich pals won’t be audited."
@LA_SassyPants: "We pay our taxes, Ted. The IRS doesn't scare those who *actually* pay their taxes."
Jedi Ghost: "The IRS actually hired customer service personnel, and as a result the wait times for the tax help line where reduced almost by an order of magnitude. It’s sad you need to keep lying about something so obviously beneficial to hardworking American taxpayers."
@sheeshkabob: "We need them. We need to prosecute people like tRump for cheating the tax system."
Watch the video below or at this link.
\u201cDemocrats want an army of IRS agents to harass the American people. \n\nI've yet to find someone in Texas who wants 87,000 new IRS agents!\u201d— Ted Cruz (@Ted Cruz) 1684711380
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