Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-CA)—along with 42 House Democrats—released a letter, dated June 8, which expresses concern regarding the inclusion of a rider in the FY 2017 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill that would limit the ability of the IRS to issue guidance on actions by section 501(c)(4) organizations that constitute political activity. The letter “strongly urge[s]” the House Appropriations Committee “to strike the 501(c)(4) rider from all future funding bills.” According to the letter, “Congress should not use an appropriations measure to impede the IRS’s legal authority to improve upon this area of the law. Efforts to impede the IRS’s ability to do its job ultimately harm American taxpayers and have no place in the appropriations process.”

The proposed rider is similar to the rider contained in the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act. The 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act limited the ability of the IRS “to issue, revise, or finalize” guidance “not limited to a particular taxpayer relating to the standard which is used to determine whether an organization is operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare for purposes of section 501(c)(4)” for FY2016. The current appropriations bill would impose an identical ban for FY2017.