GOP senator wants $80 billion from IRS to fund officers in schools

Sen. Rick Scott is among GOP lawmakers trying to defund the IRS after the agency said it had a 22% reduction in funding.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Posted at 2:18 PM, Apr 25, 2023

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., is urging Congress to reroute the billions of dollars earmarked for the IRS in the Inflation Reduction Act to hire armed officers for schools across the country.

"Instead of spending billions of dollars to expand the IRS to go after American taxpayers, Washington can send a powerful message to parents about our true priorities by dedicating these funds to the School Guardian Act to provide block grants to states so they can increase school security at every school and keep kids safe. I hope my colleagues agree and support its quick passage," Scott said. 

Under the proposed School Guardian Act, there would be a trained law enforcement officer in every school across the country. It would create a block grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Justice to support the hiring of one or more law enforcement officers to provide full-time security at every K-12 school in the country. 

According to Scott, this bill builds on his efforts as governor of Florida to improve school safety with increased law enforcement and security measures following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018 that killed 17 people and injured 17 others.

Scott says he will work across the aisle with Republicans and Democrats to protect the safety of children at school.

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Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk says he supports having a trained law enforcement officer on school grounds to protect and serve in case of an emergency. This bill is endorsed by Stand with Parkland, the Florida Sheriffs Association, and the Florida Police Chiefs Association.

But the bill is not endorsed by all Parkland families. Fred Guttenberg, father of student Jamie Guttenberg, who died in the attack, tweeted, "I guess he is already politicizing what he plans as he never reached out to me, and I know nothing about it."

David Hogg, a survivor of the attack, recently accosted Scott on Twitter. 

"Rick Scott as one of the most powerful people in the country has not passed a single thing in the senate to reduce gun violence. I'm sorry for your loss but is protecting easy access to weapons like the AR-15 really worth the cost?" Hogg wrote.

The IRS is receiving $80 billion in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congress last year. Of that amount, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that $60 billion will be spent on enforcement.

Despite suggestions from Republican lawmakers, the IRS has vowed not to increase audit rates on Americans making under $400,000 a year.

New IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel said that the IRS has been "significantly underfunded" for years. He said the IRS has experienced a 22% reduction in funding from 2010 through 2021.

Alexandra Rangel for Scripps News Fort Myers contributed to this report. 

Rep. Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, and expelled Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville.

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