IRS Workers Say Trump Is Just Trying to Save Face With Employee Recall

(Bloomberg) -- Thousands of Internal Revenue Service employees are being ordered back to work, without pay, only so President Donald Trump can avoid the political embarrassment of delayed tax refunds, a federal workers’ union claimed.

That’s not a good enough reason, the union said in a request to a judge to block the move.

"IRS employees who process federal tax returns and refunds do not protect human life or property from imminent threat," the legal standard for ordering federal employees to work without pay during a government shutdown, the National Treasury Employees Union said on Thursday, the 27th day of the shutdown.

The union added the new claim to a lawsuit filed last week. It had sued Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney in an unsuccessful bid to win a temporary court order forcing the U.S. to pay its employees or let them take other jobs. In the revised complaint, the union added Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin as a defendant and asked the judge to block the Trump Administration’s plans to recall its sidelined members.

The IRS will have about 46,000 of its more than 80,000 employees at work in the coming days, according to an updated shutdown contingency plan the agency released Tuesday.

"The timely issuance of federal tax refunds is politically important to the president," the union said.

The case is National Treasury Employees Union v. U.S., 19-cv-00050, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

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