Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that, if elected president, he would seek to shut down four federal agencies as part of an effort to reduce the size of government.
“We would do education, business, energy and the IRS,” DeSantis said in an interview with Fox News’ Martha MacCallum when asked if he favored closing any agencies.
«If Congress works with me to do that, we can reduce the size and scope of government,» he added. «If Congress doesn’t go that far, I will use those agencies to push back the ideology of the awakening and leftism that we see invading every institution of American life.»
The DeSantis campaign did not immediately respond to a request for more details about the Republican candidate’s comments.
DeSantis has tried to distinguish himself from Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, in part by moving further to the former president’s right on a variety of issues. On Tuesday, he cast a surprise veto, rejecting a criminal justice reform bill that had received substantial bipartisan support in the Republican-led state Legislature.
While Trump has not said he would seek to eliminate the Department of Education if elected in 2024, he has proposed eliminating federal funding for “any school or program that advances critical race theory, gender ideology, or other racial content, sexually or politically inappropriate for our children.” ”
“We need to fundamentally reconstitutionalize the government,” DeSantis said Wednesday. «We talked about draining the swamp in 2016, that didn’t happen. I think the best analogy is breaking up the swamp.»
It wasn’t the first time DeSantis floated the idea of taking down the IRS, a frequent target of Republicans. In «Dana’s Show» Last month, DeSantis called the IRS a «crooked organization» when asked by radio host Dana Loesch if he would sign a measure to abolish the agency.
«The answer is yes,» DeSantis said at the time. “We need something totally different.”
When asked how he would replace the existing tax structure, DeSantis said he has «supported all single rate proposals,» meaning a flat tax.
«I would like to take this tax system, throw it out the window and do something that is more favorable to average people,» he said at the time.
The IRS, which is overseen by the Treasury Department, has cut about 20% of its staff since 2010. The debt ceiling agreement eliminated $1.4 billion in IRS funds and redirected approximately $20 billion of the $80 billion provided to the agency through the Inflation Reduction Act to non-defense funds.
DeSantis is not the first Republican presidential candidate in recent election cycles to call for the abolition of federal agencies.
In 2011, then-Texas Governor Rick Perry said during a primary debate that he would eliminate three federal agencies, but he did not recall the Department of Energy after naming the other two: business and education. He later served as energy secretary during the Trump administration.