- Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation to disarm enforcement agents from the EPA, DOL, and IRS.
- Representative Clay Higgins introduced the No Funds for Arm Regulators Act of 2023, joined by seven co-sponsors.
- Senator Joni Ernst introduced the Why Does the IRS Need Guns Act to prohibit the IRS from buying weapons and equipping agents with firearms.
- The bills aim to push back against oppressive tactics and reduce the weaponization of government agencies.
- The number of armed agents in the EPA, DOL, and IRS is significant, with millions of dollars spent on weaponry and related equipment.
In recent years, there has been increasing concern about the weaponization of government agencies, including the IRS. While bills have been introduced in Congress to address this issue, they have yet to gain much traction. However, several Republican lawmakers are taking a stand and proposing legislation to disarm enforcement agents from the EPA, DOL, and IRS.
One such bill is the No Funds for Arm Regulators Act of 2023, introduced by Republican Representative Clay Higgins of Louisiana. This bill, joined by seven co-sponsors, aims to disallow the use of taxpayer dollars to hire or retain armed regulatory enforcement agents in the EPA, DOL, and IRS. In a press release, Higgins stated that this bill is a crucial step in pushing back against the oppressive tactics used by deep state bureaucrats who encroach upon the rights of Americans and devour their wealth.
Another bill, introduced by Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, is titled the Why Does the IRS Need Guns Act. This bill specifically targets the IRS and seeks to prohibit the agency from buying weapons and equipping its agents with firearms. It is worth noting that as of April 2023, the IRS had approximately 2,100 armed agents in its enforcement division and had spent $10 million on weaponry and related equipment, including $5 million in 2021 alone.
The EPA also has its share of enforcement agents who are allowed to carry firearms. According to an EPA spokesperson, there are currently 150 enforcement agents with this authority. Additionally, the EPA's Inspector General's office has an additional 48 agents authorized to carry firearms as of November 2017.
The exact number of armed agents in the DOL is unclear, but Representative Higgins acknowledged that there is a significant presence of regulatory enforcement agents who interact with constituents, especially in rural areas. He expressed surprise at the armed police officers from these agencies enforcing regulations on constituents' properties.
While the current bills focus on disarming enforcement agents in the EPA, DOL, and IRS, Representative Higgins indicated that the language of the bills allows for easy amendment. This means that the scope of the legislation could potentially be expanded in the future to include other agencies or agents.
Congressional Republicans have already made efforts to reduce funding for IRS enforcement, cutting $21.4 billion from the initially proposed $80 billion as part of debt ceiling negotiations in early June. These moves demonstrate a growing concern among lawmakers about the weaponization of government agencies and a desire to rein it in.
However, the fate of these bills is uncertain. While they may have a higher chance of passing in the House of Representatives, a split Congress makes it unlikely that they would pass in the Senate. Even if they were to pass both chambers, there is a risk of a veto from President Joe Biden, who has previously shown support for government agencies and their enforcement efforts.
In conclusion, the introduction of these bills by Republican lawmakers is a significant step in addressing the weaponization of government agencies, particularly the EPA, DOL, and IRS. The bills aim to curtail the use of taxpayer dollars for arming enforcement agents and push back against the oppressive tactics used by these agencies. However, the political landscape and potential opposition may pose challenges to the passage of these bills. It remains to be seen what actions will be taken to address the concerns surrounding the weaponization of government agencies.