Congressional Roundup: Applauding Biden for summertime E15
Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, asks a question of U.S. Trade Representative Katherine C. Tai as she testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on Capitol Hill, May 12, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the latest installment in a series of periodic updates on the activities of South Dakota’s congressional delegation.
Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, applauded the Biden administration’s Friday decision to allow the summertime sale of E15 fuel, which is gasoline blended with up to 15% ethanol.
“As I have repeatedly made clear to the Biden administration, biofuels are a common-sense, readily available energy solution that should be utilized to their full potential,” Thune said in a written statement. “I’m glad the president listened to my repeated calls to extend E15 fuel sales through the summer.”
Gasoline sold in the U.S. is already blended with 10% ethanol. E15 has been prohibited in the summer due to concerns it could make smog worse.
The EPA said Friday, “As a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine” the agency “determined that extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances exist and has granted a temporary waiver to help ensure that an adequate supply of gasoline is available.” EPA added that its research “has shown no significant impact on evaporative emissions.”
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Thune requested that the Government Accountability Office review the effectiveness of federal, state and local broadband programs following a recent report that found overlapping and fragmented federal efforts.
He also reintroduced a bill that would prevent the Internal Revenue Service from hiring new enforcement employees until some taxpayer service targets are met.
“The IRS has an abysmal track record when it comes to providing customer service to taxpayers,” Thune said in a statement.
Americans have a right to expect the IRS will administer the nation’s tax laws with integrity and fairness in every context.
As the Biden admin supersizes the IRS, we need agency oversight now more than ever – That's why I introduced the IRS Funding Accountability Act. pic.twitter.com/GtOn3YZmKw
— Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) April 20, 2023
The legislation seeks to improve customer service and reduce backlogs by requiring the agency to focus on improving phone services and more efficient tax return processing. It would also prohibit the IRS from using enforcement funds from the Inflation Reduction Act to audit taxpayers with incomes less than $400,000 at a greater rate than at the time of the act’s passage.
Additionally, the bill requires quarterly reports on the status of taxpayer service metrics and targets.
Thune also introduced a bill alongside Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-South Dakota, which aims to limit the influence of labor unions in the workplace.
“Washington Democrats have long bowed to the demands of union bosses by prioritizing radical labor policies that harm small businesses and workers,” Thune said in a statement.
Among other things, the bill would ensure workers’ rights to secret-ballot union elections and require unions to obtain permission from each member to use their union dues for purposes other than collective bargaining.
Rounds shares IRS concerns
Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, introduced the Securing Our Border Act, a bill that would redirect $15 billion of funding passed by Democrats from the IRS to bolster security measures along the southern U.S. border.
Rounds said President Biden’s administration will hire 87,000 new IRS agents who will conduct over a million audits per year.
“President Biden’s priorities are out of whack,” Rounds said in a statement.
The legislation aims to fund border inspections, border wall construction, and other technologies to enhance enforcement efforts, and provide retention bonuses for Border Patrol agents.
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