The lack of a House Speaker has prevented the chamber from carrying out its normal functions, including constituent services dealing with the IRS, as the agency has notified members that it cannot share taxpayer information with them or their staff, although the Taxpayer Advocate Service can still handle cases they’re involved in.
Staff initially received communications from the IRS stating that the agency could not work with them until a Speaker was elected and members sworn in. According to news reports the IRS later clarified that offices can work on cases but the agency is prohibited from communicating specific taxpayer information.
The lack of a Speaker essentially paralyzes Congress as it is unable to take-up legislation, name committee members and Chairs, including the Ways and Means tax writing committee. Without a Speaker the House Rules Committee cannot approve House rules for the 118th Congress. If those rules are not passed by January 13, committee staff members could begin to lose pay and benefits.
The standoff has also handicapped other critical government business. “The Biden administration is going unchecked and there is no oversight of the White House, State Department, Department of Defense, or the intelligence community,” the incoming chairs of several committees, including foreign affairs and armed services, said in a statement January 5. “We cannot let personal politics place the safety and security of the United States at risk,” they said.
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