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Highway Bill Conferee Opposes Tax Debt Collection Language

Sharon Edmondson, Washington Legislative Team Member | November 13, 2015

As the highway spending bill moves to a conference committee, Rep Steve Cohen (D-TN), says he will oppose the controversial language mandating that the IRS hire private debt collectors.

Cohen’s opposition is joined by a largely Democratic chorus of lawmakers opposing the debt collection provision, citing past efforts to utilize private collectors that the IRS canceled after deeming them unprofitable.

On the other side of Capitol Hill, the Senate voted November 10 to move to a conference on the bill by naming the conferees. Senator Wyden (D-OR) a long-time opponent of the debt collection language in previous bills was selected to be a conferee. This time around Wyden with sixteen other lawmakers signed a letter to the Senate leadership calling on them to reject the language in conference.

The passport provision, language allowing the State Department to revoke or deny the application for a passport for individual’s with more than $50,000 in seriously delinquent tax debt, has not gotten as much attention as the debt collection language. American Citizens Abroad has been working to remove the provision in conference, sending letters to House and Senate members.

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