WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will order federal agencies on Wednesday to take measures to prevent companies that are delinquent in paying taxes from obtaining new government contracts, the White House said.
Obama will also instruct the Internal Revenue Service to review the overall accuracy of companies' claims about tax delinquency to be sure that when a company says it's paying taxes, it's not lying, the White House said in a statement.
The move is the latest in a series of populist-toned events that Obama, a Democrat, has emphasized to generate support for his political and legislative agenda, which took a major hit on Tuesday after an upset victory by a Republican for the Senate seat left vacant by the death of liberal Senator Ted Kennedy.
Last week Obama chastised bankers for taking large bonuses and proposed a fee to claw back taxpayer bailout money from top financial institutions.
The measures are meant to fire up Obama's political base and help move the spotlight back to the economy after intense public focus on security threats, the devastating earthquake in Haiti, and, now, the shock election in Massachusetts.
Obama's orders to pursue tax cheats will be addressed to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Treasury Department, and other agencies, the statement said.
In addition, the President is calling on Congress to give the government the tools necessary to ensure that the public's tax dollars are not used to boost the profits of companies who refuse to pay their taxes, it said.
The White House said the latest measures complimented earlier actions by the administration to reduce government waste.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; editing by Mohammad Zargham)