Biden’s nominee for IRS commissioner had to be confirmed by the Senate

Werfel, a veteran of federal finance agencies like the Office of Management and Budget who most recently headed the global public practice of the Boston Consulting Group, won the support of six Republicans. He appeared on course for confirmation on Wednesday, before Democratic leaders postponed the vote as the chamber continued to debate abortion laws and efforts to block a progressive DC crime bill.

In a speech Wednesday, Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) praised Werfel’s competence and professionalism, citing the nominee’s experience navigating turbulent political waters as acting commissioner of the IRS in 2013, when the agency due Alleged targeting of conservative groups came under fire request for tax exemption.

“He helped put the ship in order and boosted confidence in the IRS,” Wyden said.

Werfel will face pressure from Democrats to show results from the new funding by raising audit rates for wealthy taxpayers that have fallen in recent years, improving customer service, processing tax returns and refunds faster, and updating the agency’s legacy IT become infrastructure and computer systems.

House Republicans have also vowed to bring the IRS commissioner before oversight committees to testify about leaks of taxpayer data and whether the agency will use its new funds to prosecute middle-class taxpayers and small businesses — despite a pledge from Biden that the taxes will be raised not to increase to those earning less than $400,000.

Werfel seemed to have reassured the GOP members who voted for him on at least some of these issues: Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Todd Young of Indiana.

“Sometimes interviewing these nominees gives you a sense of whether or not they have real plans,” Young said. “[Werfel] He has volunteered some of his plans to improve operations to me, but he has also shown the humility required of a manager entering an environment where there will be certain new discoveries.”

Manchin, on the other hand, has fought with the Treasury Department over what he believes to be a misguided interpretation of the legislation. Democrats passed legislation last summer expanding tax credits for electric vehicles and a host of other green energy programs. Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) largely wrote this legislation.

“Although Daniel Werfel is superbly qualified to serve as IRS Commissioner, I have no confidence that he will be given the autonomy to carry out the work in accordance with the law and for that reason I cannot support his nomination,” said Manchin in a statement.

Brian Faler contributed to this report.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this report misspelled the name of Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.


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