“Well, one of the reasons that isn’t part of the proposal is that we took a step back. Another reason is that we found out that the Democrats were going to insert a proposal into the reconciliation package, which doesn’t ‘was not just similar to the one we had, but with a lot more IRS enforcement, “Senator Rob Portman told CNN’s Dana Bash on” State of the Union “when asked. asked about Republican opposition to the idea.

“This has created quite a problem because the general agreement is that this is the infrastructure package negotiated by the two parties and that we will stick to it,” added Portman, a chief Republican negotiator of the group that said they worked with White House legislation.

The Ohio Republican’s comments mean the group of lawmakers will have to continue looking for ways to pay for the costly infrastructure package, the latest version of which suggested an additional $ 100 billion could be raised by the IRS over the years. The next 10 years simply by strengthening enforcement and making sure the government collects what taxpayers really owe – also known as closing the “tax gap”.

A Democratic aide confirmed to CNN on Sunday that Republicans and Democrats in the bipartisan group agreed to remove the IRS’s toughened enforcement provision after Tories pushed it back, endangering the group’s ability to strike a deal. agreement before a procedural vote scheduled for Wednesday for legislation.

CNN reported earlier this month that it’s not clear exactly how much could be collected and how much it would cost to scale up the app. the latest IRS report available says nearly 84% of federal taxes are paid voluntarily and on time, leaving $ 441 billion uncollected. Once late payments are made and enforcement action taken, the gap narrows to $ 381 billion, according to the report.

But that’s based on fiscal years 2011, 2012, and 2013, and IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig told lawmakers earlier this year he believed the tax gap could be much bigger now – until to $ 1,000 billion a year.

President Joe Biden had backed tougher IRS enforcement and his administration put the number somewhere in the middle. A recent Treasury analysis found that the tax gap was close to $ 600 billion in 2019 and could reach around $ 7 trillion over the next decade if not resolved, or roughly. 15% of taxes due.

Portman, who told Bash that the group of senators working on the package is meeting again on Sunday to study the details, criticized what he called the “arbitrary deadline” for the bill set by the chief of the majority in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York.

“Chuck Schumer, with all due respect, does not write a bill. Besides (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell,” he said. “That’s why we shouldn’t have an arbitrary deadline of Wednesday. We should present the legislation when it’s ready. And this is incredibly important legislation.”

The meeting later Sunday is expected to focus on how to replace the now-abandoned IRS idea.

Asked about Schumer’s pressure to start debate on the issue this week, Portman stressed that negotiators did not yet have a concrete bill to consider.

“Start the debate on what? You know, we don’t have a product yet. And we won’t have a product until we finish the negotiations properly,” he said. “Again, this is a complex bill – it involves several committees, it involves, you know, a lot of very difficult issues because we have to resolve them among ourselves first, so again we let’s get together today.… We’re moving as fast as we can. “

GOP Senator Bill Cassidy, who participated in bipartisan negotiations to create the framework for the bill, also criticized the procedural vote scheduled for Wednesday on Sunday, telling Fox News he would not support it without a full version of the bill. law.

“How do I vote for closure when the bill is not drafted? Unless you want planned failure, unless Senator Schumer wants it to happen, you need a little more time to get it right, ”Cassidy said.

The Louisiana Republican said a written version of the bill could be completed before the vote, but stressed that the White House and Democrats will have to work with Republicans to find payments to fund the legislation.

This story was updated with additional details on Sunday.

CNN’s Lauren Fox and Katie Lobosco contributed to this report.

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