Scott urges Congress to fund massive border security project

by mcardinal

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

Potential presidential candidate and South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott is pushing to move billions of dollars away from the Internal Revenue Service and toward bolstering U.S. efforts to stifle the flow of people and illicit items into the nation from the south. 

Scott, who is still considering whether he will challenge Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential primary, introduced a bill Wednesday that would redirect $15 billion in IRS funds to security efforts at the southern border. 

“Let’s put an end to President Biden’s devastating border crisis,” Scott tweeted. “We must focus on bolstering our border infrastructure, investing in technology, boosting morale for personnel, and ending the disastrous catch and release policy.”

The $15 billion figure was steep but not arbitrary; it is the amount of money allotted to the IRS to pay the 87,000 new employees mentioned in the Inflation Reduction Act.

“Since President Biden stopped enforcement at the southern border there have been more than 5 million illegal border crossings, the most in U.S. history,” Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), one of the bill’s cosponsors, said in a statement. “Yet, instead of addressing this crisis, Biden and the Democrats are spending billions of dollars on more IRS agents. The last thing Montanans want or need is an army of IRS agents coming after them. These taxpayer dollars need to be redirected to address a real crisis like our open border, not weaponized against hardworking Montanans.”

Republicans have floated numerous plans aimed at defunding or ending outright the expansion of the IRS. 

Conservatives have argued that the agency intends to hire and train armed auditors, a claim the agency has denied.

Thursday, recently sworn-in Commissioner Danny Werfel told a House Ways and Means hearing that the IRS would not and does not employ armed auditors, but stated the agency would expand its criminal investigation wing by several thousand armed investigators. 

“Our CI division or Criminal Investigation Division, they do not conduct audits,” Werfel said. “What they do is, they are investigating acute issues of fraud and tax evasion. And typically, they’re armed when they’re putting themselves in danger.”

Republicans, though, say that the real danger is found in the south, where deadly drugs like fentanyl, as well as human trafficking victims, are smuggled in daily. 

“We have a crisis on our southern border,” Scott said in a statement. “Rather than putting resources in place to address this major national security and humanitarian catastrophe, the Biden administration and congressional Democrats chose instead to spend $45 billion of taxpayer money to hire an army of IRS agents to audit the middle class.

“While President Biden continues to drop the ball, I’m introducing legislation to fund border infrastructure and give our Border Patrol agents the tools they need to help stop the unaddressed flows of illicit goods and persons into this country. Americans need more border agents keeping them safe – not thousands more IRS agents looking over their shoulder.”

According to Scott’s office, the “Securing Our Border Act” would fund at least partial construction of the border wall and allocate money for tech upgrades that would foster “nonintrusive border inspections to better equip our law enforcement’s capability to track drugs and other illicit contraband before it enters the United States.”