One senator says the Internal Revenue Service is set to pay $70 million in bonuses for employees, over the objections of a White House mandate for all agencies to cancel discretionary spending — specifically, bonuses — due to looming automatic budget cuts.
The news comes by way of Sen. Chuck Grassley, who said he learned just Wednesday of the IRS bonus agreement with its union members, The Associated Press reported.
Mr. Grassley pointed to the Obama administration's directive and said the bonuses should be canceled, AP said.
"The IRS always claims to be short on resources," Mr. Grassley said, in the AP report. "But it appears to have $70 million for union bonuses. And it appears to be making an extra effort to give the bonuses despite opportunities to renegotiate with the union and federal instruction to cease discretionary bonuses during sequestration."
The IRS, in response, issued a statement neither confirming nor denying the existence of the bonuses.
Agency spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge said, AP reported: The Office of Management and Budget "guidance directs that agencies should not pay discretionary monetary awards at this time, unless legally required. IRS is under a legal obligation to comply with its collective-bargaining agreement, which specifies the terms by which awards are paid to bargaining-unit employees. ... In accordance with OMB guidance, the IRS is actively engaged with [the union] on these matters in recognition of our current budgetary constraints."
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