Yellen Pitches Budget Increase for Treasury After Trump-Era Cuts

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is asking U.S. lawmakers for more money to run her agency and improve tax collection, citing a budget that has shrunk by as much as 20% in some offices since 2016.

To fight the impact of the global pandemic on the American economy, the department in the past year established programs to distribute more than $1 trillion in direct payments and aid to state and local governments along with American businesses and families.

The White House is expected to release a detailed budget proposal Friday after providing initial figures in early April. That plan called for a 10.6% increase in the Treasury Department’s discretionary budget for fiscal year 2022, including a 10.4% increase for the Internal Revenue Service.

Yellen Pitches Budget Increase for Treasury After Trump-Era Cuts

“While our portfolio has grown to match the urgency of this moment, our annual budget has not grown in tandem, and the funding provided to administer new programs is temporary,” Yellen said in the text of prepared remarks ahead of a hearing before a House Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday.

She said the Treasury’s annual budget, not accounting for inflation, is the same as in 2010. Of the three main units at the department, the one overseeing domestic finance, economic and tax policy has seen a 20% budget cut since 2016.

Read more: Biden Seeks 10% IRS Funding Hike to Spur More Audits of Wealthy

Making her pitch for more IRS funding, Yellen said that “many of the country’s wealthiest taxpayers do not pay their full tax bill, and the IRS is not nearly staffed up enough to ensure compliance.”

Yellen is also contending with having to hire enough senior political staff to support the vast agency after spending fell under her predecessor, Steven Mnuchin. When he left the department, it had about 63 political appointees, compared with 170 under Barack Obama’s Treasury, according to one person familiar with the matter.

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