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Senate GOP halts IRS hearing

Senate Republicans halted a hearing with President Obama’s choice to lead the Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday, raising new questions about whether the troubled agency will have a confirmed chief by year’s end.

Before the hearing broke up, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), vowed to support John Koskinen, the former Freddie Mac executive tapped to take over an agency still reeling from its admission that it inappropriately singled out conservative groups for additional review. 

Baucus and Hatch plan to reconvene the IRS hearing Wednesday at 9:15 a.m.

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But with the agency’s current interim chief, Danny Werfel, scheduled to leave by the end of the month, it’s far from clear when Koskinen’s nomination could reach the Senate floor.

The GOP decision Tuesday to block the hearing from proceeding came as the Senate was continuing its work to confirm a string of federal judges and Obama’s nominees via majority vote, after a rule change via the “nuclear option” that Republicans vigorously opposed.

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