Gov. Chris Sununu says no. Speaker Nancy Pelosi says “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.”
And New Hampshire’s federal delegation says “no comment.”
For two weeks, New Hampshire’s federal delegation has been dodging questions from NHJournal about their support for President Joe Biden’s new IRS initiative to monitor bank accounts with just $600 in total annual transactions. It’s a controversial program opposed by the New Hampshire Banking Association, and by the Biden administration’s own admission, it’s designed to collect nearly $50 billion a year from average taxpayers.
And yet Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen and Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas would only offer a “no comment” when asked about supporting it.
Now Sununu is stepping up, sending the delegation a letter formally asking them to oppose the Biden policy.
“The Biden Administration and U.S. Treasury are attempting to require financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions, to report financial information on all personal accounts with $600 or more of inflows or outflows to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS),” Sununu wrote. “This unprecedented federal government overreach would violate the privacy of almost every American family. I am writing to ask for your assistance in stopping this on behalf of all Granite Staters.”
Sununu notes the proposal “is a major privacy concern that will affect middle- and low-income earners just as much as high-income earners.” And, he added, “as governor, I urge you to oppose any proposal that would require financial institutions to collect this sensitive personal financial information and report it to the IRS.”
Sununu amplified his concerns during an interview with radio host Jack Heath on Tuesday, linking the Biden administration’s proposal to the cost of the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better proposal.
“It’s effectively big government oversight. It’s your privacy, your personal information. The idea that the wealthy are going to pay for this is a joke.”
Asked about Sununu’s comments and the letter he sent them, all four members of the delegation again had no comment. Sununu also called them out over that fact.
“Jack, I answer more questions about federal policies in my press conferences than the federal delegation does.”
No member of New Hampshire’s federal delegation has held an open press event in at least three years, while Sununu has held more than 100 since the COVID pandemic began.
Meanwhile, the question of the IRS policy and where the delegation stands on it remains. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (Socialist – Vt.) say 48 senators support the $3.5 trillion spending plan.
If that’s true, then Hassan and Shaheen are on board.
According to Americans for Tax Reform, the Build Back Better plan will also increase utility bills in New Hampshire. And economists worry employers, who are already struggling to find workers in the Granite State, will find it even harder once the trillions in social spending make it possible for more people to collect benefits without working.
Congressional Democrats now say they plan to lift the transaction trigger to a number that’s larger than $600.
“We’ve reached an agreement to not have the $600,” House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal said recently. Democrats are reportedly considering raising the thresholds to accounts with more than $10,000 in total activity, though that’s not confirmed.
Sununu, who may run for the U.S. Senate next year, isn’t shy about sharing his view of Biden’s plan.
“This $3.5 trillion is a bad idea,” Sununu said. “America knows this is a bad idea. This is a lot of socialistic government programs. And the fact that our own delegation won’t answer [questions about their support], that’s not a Chris Sununu issue, that’s a Granite Stater issue.
“All of us are frustrated with the lack of transparency from the delegation.”