WEST CHESTER, Pa. -- U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) is marking a major milestone.
The Rep. said in a release $9 million has been returned directly to community members and small businesses through her office's constituent services since beginning her second term last January.
“I’m an entrepreneur, so I understand the importance of getting a return on an investment,” said Houlahan. “And the taxpayers of Chester and Berks counties rightfully deserve to know if they are getting a return on their investment in a congressional office. I hope today’s announcement further shows our community how seriously I take my responsibility to deliver for Pennsylvania’s small business owners, seniors, and working families. Constituent services is a top priority.”
Houlahan also noted that not all cases, such as passport processing delays, contribute to the office’s money returned total but can nonetheless have financial implications.
“Regardless of a financial outcome, our office stands ready to help constituents navigate federal agencies,” said Houlahan. “We are very proud of our track record.”
The total amount returned since January 2021 stands at $9,089,771. The largest sum of federal dollars returned to constituents came from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at $4,504,686. The second and third largest sums of federal dollars returned to constituents came from the Small Business Administration (SBA) and Social Security Administration (SSA) at $2,710,238 and $1,249,237 respectively. Other federal agencies include the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) among others, according to the release.
“It’s no secret our federal agencies need modernizing,” said Houlahan. “Outdated systems, combined with an unprecedented pandemic, caused massive and unacceptable delays in services. For example, we saw a substantial increase in IRS-related inquiries—they remain the bulk of our outstanding cases, and we are working to resolve them as quickly as possible.”
Recently, over 200 Members of Congress in the House and Senate, including Houlahan, wrote a letter to the Treasury Department urging them to reduce the backlog. According to the release, the IRS had a backlog of 6 million individual income tax returns and 2.3 million amended individual tax returns as of December 2021. In addition, the IRS has 2 million Employer Quarterly Tax Returns that must be processed before the nearly 500,000 amended Forms 941 can be processed.
Including Houlahan’s first term in Congress, her office has returned a total of $13,860,675 to area residents, the release said.