House tax panel cancels hearing on shutdown impact

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives tax committee has canceled a hearing that was scheduled for Thursday on the impact of the partial government shutdown on the Internal Revenue Service and the federal tax season, a committee spokesman said on Wednesday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week declined a request by Representative Richard Neal, the Democratic chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, to testify at the planned hearing.

Representative Judy Chu, speaking to reporters after exiting an evening meeting of Democratic members of the committee, said Neal had a “productive” telephone call with Mnuchin on Wednesday and committee members hope to persuade the secretary to appear at a later date.

“I think we’re going to try to get Mnuchin to come to a similar meeting next week,” Chu said.

About one-quarter of the federal government has been shut down for more than a month over Republican President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to fund a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which Democrats oppose. Nearly 800,000 federal employees are receiving no pay.

The Internal Revenue Service, which is overseen by Treasury, said last week it would bring more than 46,000 furloughed employees back to work to handle tax filings, refunds and other tasks.

The U.S. tax filing season is set to begin on Jan. 28 and last until the April 15 filing deadline.

Reporting by David Morgan; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Leslie Adler

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