Republican deal averts vote on impeaching director of IRS
WASHINGTON — A last-minute deal between conservatives and GOP leaders in the House averted votes expected Thursday on a measure to impeach the commissioner of the IRS.
Instead, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will testify before Congress next week.
The conservative House Freedom Caucus celebrated the development as a victory, as conservatives had long pushed GOP leaders for impeachment hearings against Koskinen. They accuse him of obstructing a congressional investigation into the treatment of tea party groups seeking tax exemptions.
But the agreement canceling the votes came only after conservatives themselves predicted that their impeachment resolution was going to get sidelined by Democratic and Republican opposition Thursday. So instead they settled for a hearing next Wednesday, which would result in an impeachment vote only after the November presidential election, if ever.
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin welcomed the resolution, saying that it “was a good way to work things out.” Neither Ryan nor other House GOP leaders had embraced the impeachment push, but Ryan, who needs to maintain conservative support, had also avoided publicly criticizing the move.
However, it would take only one aggrieved conservative to revive the impeachment on the House floor, so the deal does not definitively rule out a vote before the election.
Koskinen has disputed the allegations against him in private meetings with House Republicans in recent days.
The original conduct the House was investigating, related to how tea party groups were dealt with by the IRS, happened before Koskinen’s tenure.
Residents clean up a flooded street Thursday in southeastern Xiamen, China, after a powerful typhoon swept ashore Thursday after hitting Taiwan, leaving a total of two dead and dozens injured.