Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) has introduced a pair of bills to protect taxpayers from overreach by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which systematically targeted and delayed the applications of conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status beginning in 2010.
“As the federal agency tasked with administering the U.S. tax code, the IRS has extraordinary influence on the lives of Americans from all walks of life and all points of view,” Senator Fischer said. “Nebraskans and all Americans have the absolute right to expect the IRS to be free from political influence, with taxpayers treated fairly and enforcement carried out in an unbiased manner. These two bills protect the constitutional rights of taxpayers, increase transparency, and promote accountability of the IRS, which has a long way to go to regain credibility and restore public trust.”
The Stop IRS Overreach Act (S.2043) would prohibit the IRS from asking any taxpayer questions regarding their religious, political, or social beliefs. It also expresses the sense of Congress that:
Any exceptions later enacted by Congress should clearly identify the content of questions, the class of taxpayers to be questioned, and circumstances under which questions will be asked; and
If the IRS Commissioner determines that asking such questions would aid in the administration of tax laws, then he/she should submit a report to Congress detailing the content of the questions, the class of taxpayers to be questioned, and circumstances under which questions will be asked.
Text of the legislation is available online by clicking HERE.
The Taxpayer Accountability Act (S.2044) would require the IRS to:
Provide a written response to any taxpayer correspondence within 30 days;
Notify a taxpayer within 30 days after disclosing their taxpayer information to another government entity; and
Conclude any audit of an individual taxpayer (and the related taxes of such audit) within one year of initiating the audit.
Almost forty years ago, few could have imagined how modern technology would change the way we live. Ground-breaking advancements have changed the way we do business, communicate with one another, and feed the world.
One rapidly-growing field is low-risk health information technology (health IT). These products, which pose little threat to human health, range from electronic health records and scheduling software to mobile wellness applications. Yet, they can greatly improve our quality of life.
Pioneers of low-risk health IT are engineering technologies that improve care, empower consumers with information, and save lives. Thanks to a $1.99 mobile app, an American basketball coach was able to download a refresher course on how to properly administer CPR. Thankfully, he was able to perform the procedure on a player who collapsed in practice the very next day.
In 2012, the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs partnered to release a free Apple and Android smartphone app called the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Coach. The app provides useful and reliable information on the disorder and its treatments. Since the app’s launch, it has been downloaded more than 100,000 times in 74 countries.
Yet, many of the current regulations governing these fields haven’t been appropriately updated to reflect modern developments. We need updated rules to help foster continued progress and ensure we stay competitive.
The current, overly broad definition of a medical device – written in 1976 – gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate a wide range of health information technologies entering the marketplace. The FDA claims it has discretion to regulate things like mobile wellness apps with the same rules it uses to review complex, invasive medical machines. This defies common sense.
As a result, many of the products posing little risk to human health fall victim to a long, costly regulatory process. This stalls progress and unnecessarily burdens inventors and entrepreneurs.
To address this problem, I teamed up with Senator Angus King (I-Maine) to introduce a bill that provides needed regulatory changes. Our legislation, the PROTECT Act of 2014, provides the industry certainty to promote innovation and encourage job creation all while protecting patient safety.
The PROTECT Act offers a more specific, risk-based framework for the FDA by drawing a line between low-risk and high-risk technologies. Our bill enables the FDA to focus its attention on devices that pose the greatest risk to human health. The agency’s work to protect people is important, and our bill makes sure that this oversight continues for dangerous medical devices.
Importantly, our legislation also cuts unnecessary red tape. Whenever I meet with business owners across Nebraska, I hear time and again that uncertainty, partly due to overregulation, remains an ongoing challenge. Lingering uncertainty holds back business expansion and prevents owners from hiring.
Health IT is a thriving sector of our economy. It is full of enormous growth potential, with opportunities for job creation. For example, the mobile health and mobile application market is expected to exceed $26 billion by 2017, and the mobile application economy is responsible for half a million new American jobs.
Congress should be working to help, not hinder, these successful job creators with pro-growth policies. The PROTECT Act provides regulatory certainty and gets government out of the way where it is not needed. Anyone with ambition and a dream should have a shot. Our legislation makes sure they do. We all benefit from more jobs, new technology, and innovative forms of healthcare.
I’m so pleased to work with Senator King and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) – an original cosponsor of our bipartisan bill – to remove bureaucratic hurdles stifling economic growth.