Sen. Rick Scott voted for the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package, and since then he has sought to undermine the bill he backed.
For the second time this week, the first-term Republican Senator sounded off about problematic provisions of the legislation.
His issue this time is with “improper payments” from the Internal Revenue Service to dead people, dependents, and other undeserving recipients.
“I have been troubled by reports in recent weeks of improper payments being made by the IRS, including payments sent to deceased individuals and individuals who are claimed as dependents by another taxpayer. There have also been several reports of funds going to the wrong accounts and of under-payments, which fail to account for the dependents a taxpayer has properly claimed on his or her prior tax filings,” the Senator noted in a Thursday letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.
Scott did not hazard an estimate as to how much of the economic package is being squandered on improper allocations, but his questions to Rettig demanded accountability.
“How many improper payments has the IRS identified since it began disbursing funds to individual taxpayers pursuant to the 2020 Recovery Rebates for Individuals program? What is the total dollar value of improper payments identified for each category of ineligible recipients above? Were the tax filings used to identify potentially eligible recipients cross-referenced against other resources available to the IRS, such as the Death Master File maintained by the Social Security Administration, to confirm the continuing eligibility of the recipients prior to disbursement of funds?”
For the Naples Senator, this continues a recent tradition of demanding accountability after the President signed into law the unprecedented expansion of debt passed overwhelmingly in Washington this spring.
On Wednesday, Scott echoed the President’s call to have Harvard University pay back nearly $9 million it received via the federal CARES Act, before going further and calling for an end to the educational “slush fund” created by the $2.2 trillion economic rescue package.
“It’s ridiculous that wealthy universities like Harvard, which has a $40 billion endowment, would get taxpayer funding during a crisis,” Scott said.
Previously, the Naples Republican wrote Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russ Vought, urging for the return of “billions of dollars of wasteful and unrelated funding included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act so this money can instead be used to help American families.”
Those allocations included $25 million to the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, $88 million to the Peace Corps for “evacuating volunteers and U.S. direct hires from overseas,” and $30.8 billion to the Department of Education for an “Education Stabilization Fund.”
Also recommended for the chopping block previously:
— $75 million for National Endowment for the Arts
— $75 million for National Endowment for Humanities
— $75 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
— $50 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services