Senate Panel Refuses IRS Cuts Sought by GOP

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democrats have stepped in to protect the Internal Revenue Service from huge budget cuts sought by House Republicans.

Democrats control the Senate Appropriations Committee. Besides safeguarding against cuts, they defended the ability of the IRS to enforce President Barack Obama's health care law.

The $44 billion IRS funding bill is bigger than the House version. The House bill would slash the IRS budget next year by $3 billion.

The measure is one of 12 spending bills passed each year by Congress that set agency operating budgets.