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What happens if you cut the IRS budget? White House says you lose 'robust service

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen appears before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on 'IRS Obstruction: Lois Lerner's Missing E-Mails, Part I' on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 23, 2014. The hearing focused on the missing e-mails from the hard drive of former director of the IRS's Exempt Organizations Division Lois Lerner. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

The White House said Monday that it opposes a House bill that would impose steep cuts on the IRS budget in the next fiscal year, because those cuts would prevent the IRS from providing "robust service" to taxpayers.

"The administration strongly opposes the $1.5 billion reduction in funding for the IRS compared to the FY 2015 budget request," the White House said in a statement on the bill, which is the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act.

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen leads an agency that the House is looking to chop by about $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2015. The White House says if that happens, 'robust services' will be lost. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM

"Reverting the agency's funding level to FY 2008 levels would hinder IRS efforts to provide robust service to taxpayers, improve enforcement operations, and implement new statutory responsibilities," the White House said. "Further, these reductions would impact efforts aimed at deficit reduction, as funding for IRS enforcement activities returns many times its cost in the form of increased revenue collections."

The bill actually cuts even more than the White House says. Late Monday, the House approved amendments cutting another $1.1 billion from the bill — that means the bill is now about $2.5 billion below the Obama administration's funding request.

Far from the White House comments about "robust service," the cuts approved by the House on Monday were retaliation for the IRS's decision to target conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, a practice House Republicans are still investigating.

That investigation has been hindered by the more than two years' worth of lost emails to and from Lois Lerner, the former official who used to run the IRS's tax exempt division.

The White House said it would veto the House bill if it were presented for President Barack Obama's signature. But before it reaches him, the House and Senate may reach some agreement on funding.

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