New IRS will have 'more soldiers than the entire Israeli army' - Sen. Kennedy

The Inflation Reduction Act is still awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives. Senator Kennedy is not the only member of the GOP to raise concerns about the bill.

 US Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) departs the Senate floor following a vote to proceed to the Inflation Reduction Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, US August 6, 2022.  (photo credit: KEN CEDENO/REUTERS)
US Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) departs the Senate floor following a vote to proceed to the Inflation Reduction Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, US August 6, 2022.
(photo credit: KEN CEDENO/REUTERS)

Senator John Neely Kennedy (R-LA) claimed on Thursday that the recent economic bill passed by the Senate would double the size of the IRS and that it will have "more agents, or soldiers, than the entire Israeli army." The claim was made in a live television interview with Fox News. 

According to a 2021 assessment by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the IDF has approximately 169,500 active personnel.

The IRS currently has about 80,000 employees according to the Associated Press. This includes much more than just enforcement officers; there are clerical workers, customer service representatives and others. The AP further cited Natasha Sarin, the Treasury Department's counselor for tax policy and implementation, explaining that the Inflation Reduction Act is meant to fund increased efforts to crack down on high-level tax evasion.

Janet Holtzblatt, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center and former Treasury official said that the nearly $80 billion promised by the bill will also pay for general improvements at the agency, such as tech updates.  

GOP objections to the bill

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Las Vegas, Nov. 5, 2021. (credit: Republican Jewish Coalition/JTA)Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition conference in Las Vegas, Nov. 5, 2021. (credit: Republican Jewish Coalition/JTA)

The Inflation Reduction Act is still awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives. Senator Kennedy is not the only member of the GOP to raise concerns about the bill.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted on Tuesday saying, "Do you make $75,000 or less? Democrats' new army of 87,000 IRS agents will be coming for you - with 710,000 new audits for Americans who earn less than $75k."

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tweeted on August 6 that “The Manchin-Schumer bill will create 87,000 new IRS agents to target regular, everyday Americans.”

Representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA) claimed in an interview with The Post Millennial, a conservative Canadian publication, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that “It’s going to hire 87,000 new IRS agents and it’s going to arm — as in guns, you know, Democrats are always upset about guns — 70,000 of these IRS agents.”