Quigley statement at hearing on Department of Treasury FY 2019 budget request
Thank you Mr. Chairman, I look forward to working with you over the upcoming FY19 Appropriations season and I anticipate some spirited discussions, as we begin our hearings. I would also like to welcome Treasury Secretary Mnuchin back to the committee.
As I’ve said in the past, the vital role that the Treasury Department plays in both the domestic and global economy cannot be overstated. Not only do you and your department oversee the Federal Government’s ability to collect trillions in revenue and finance government operations, But you are also charged with investigating and protecting our financial system from the illicit and criminal activities, as well as carrying out sanctions used to deter hostile action from foreign actors.
But again this year, the Treasury budget request before us would slash various programs that will make us less effective, less efficient, and more vulnerable to outside risks.
After almost a decade of cuts nearing $1 billion, leading to a loss of more than 17,000 employees, the IRS would suffer a $100 million reduction in this request. In order to meet this new funding level, the IRS would need to reduce staffing further by 6,000. These cutbacks will come from critical areas such as Taxpayer Services Enforcement. It’s hard to imagine why this Administration would want to weaken the IRS and give taxpayers less resources, right after passing a complex tax bill.
After strong bipartisan support from Congress, I was also deeply troubled by the Administration’s refusal to back off its request to eliminate the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. CDFIs plays a vital role in spurring both economic growth and revitalization in our most underserved and neglected communities.
There are numerous other cuts to the department that are harmful as well, including questionable reductions to cyber security enhancement at a time when hacking and identity theft are at an all time high,and a premature 57 percent cut to the Special Inspector General for TARP, which is still charged with auditing the $38 billion in open TARP programs that will last until 2023.
But I also want to quickly highlight one area in particular that I found concerning.
Under the Terrorism and Financial Intelligence program, only four additional employees are budgeted for Russia-related sanctions activities.That compares to the 69 additional employees budgeted for North Korea activities.
While I strongly agree that we must take seriously the North Korean threat to our national security, and provide TFI with the necessary tools to counter North Korean aggression, when placed side-by-side with the request for Russian activities, the obvious lack of urgency is quite stark.
Taken together with other actions, or lack thereof, from the Treasury Department on the Russian threat, it shows an Administration that does not prioritize the security of our elections or punishing those who wish to harm our Democracy.
I look forward to discussing these and other issues with you today.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.