More than a dozen senators have signed on to sponsor a bill that would stop the Internal Revenue Service from using private debt collectors to collect unpaid taxes.Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. introduced the legislation. Both objected to the plan last year.

IRS Commissioner Mark Everson has admitted that the program will cost more than the agency simply hiring more tax collectors, but under federal budget rules, money spent to hire collectors is treated as a discretionary expense, which Congress had cut.

In announcing the proposed rollback, the senators also recalled a 1996 attempt by the IRS to use private debt collectors that resulted in security violations and inappropriate collection activities. The IRS has touted the training safeguards built into the current pilot program, which involves a trio of agencies.

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