The Internal Revenue Service is already using its cash infusion, hiring 4,000 customer service representatives from the new funding it received as part of the Democrats’ major legislation on climate change, health care and taxes.

The De-Inflation Act, which President Biden signed into law in August, would provide — famously — $80 billion to the IRS over the next 10 years. A 2021 Treasury report suggested the IRS could use the funding to hire up to 87,000 employees, generating significant backlash — and significant backlash to backlash.

Republican lawmakers cited the figure to underscore their opposition to the bill and to suggest that Democrats are starting a new wave of audits and other IRS-initiated harassment. The hiring won’t actually increase the size of the IRS as much as the bill’s opponents claim: Much of it will go to filling vacancies and replacing up to 50,000 employees expected to leave the agency over the next few years.

Still, the IRS has targeted customer service employees in its first batch of new hires. The agency expects to add another 1,000 to such positions by the end of the year.

“The IRS is fully committed to providing the best service possible, and we are moving quickly to use new funding to help taxpayers during the busy tax season,” said now-former IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig, who has retired from his post on Friday. “Our phone lines have been simply overwhelmed during the pandemic, and we have been unable to provide the assistance that IRS officials want to provide and that the nation’s taxpayers deserve.”

The number of calls received by the IRS dropped by more than half this year, but the response rate rose from just 9% in 2021 to 10% in 2022. Individuals waited on hold an average of 29 minutes, up from 20 minutes last year year.

“Help is on the way for taxpayers,” Rettig said. “As new hires are trained and move online in 2023, we will have more assistants on the phone than ever before in recent history.”

The new employees are in various stages of being hired, the IRS said. They have all undergone or will undergo weeks of training upon joining the agency. The agency cited the Inflation Reduction Act for both funding the hires and allowing them to happen so quickly. The 4,000 employees were recruited in two months. Last year, the agency said, it took an average of eight months to fill customer service vacancies.

The IRS said it is in the process of hiring more staff at the agency, including law enforcement and IT staff. The Treasury said it would formally unveil its operational hiring plan in the coming months, but stressed the process was ongoing. In its 2021 report, the Treasury Department said the IRS would hire about 5,000 workers in the first year and slowly ramp them up to about 12,000 a year by the end of the 10-year window.

Rettig previously promised to move quickly to bring in new employees, telling lawmakers last year that his agency had already spent months developing hiring plans so the IRS could begin work as soon as new funding was approved .

The Inflation Reduction Act originally included special hiring and pay authorities to allow the IRS to quickly recruit and hire new employees. Due to arcane Senate procedures, however, that language was removed from the bill before it passed and President Biden signed it into law. Analysts at the Congressional Budget Office found that could have a dramatic impact: They cut their forecast for the new revenue the IRS would bring in over the next 10 years by $23 billion. The reason, CBO said, is that the law, which no longer contains staffing flexibility, “will make the IRS hire new staff more slowly and may make it more difficult to hire experienced candidates.”

The agency maintains temporary direct hire authority, which allows agencies to bypass many of the hurdles that typically slow the hiring process, after Congress provided in the fiscal year 2022 spending bill.

Rettig’s resignation came just weeks before his term expired. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that Deputy Commissioner Douglas O’Donnell will serve as Commissioner. Biden has not yet named a permanent replacement.