Senate confirms Trump's nominee for key IRS role

Senate confirms Trump's nominee for key IRS role
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The Senate on Wednesday confirmed President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE’s nominee to be chief counsel at the IRS, giving the administration a full, permanent team in place at the agency.

Michael Desmond, a California tax lawyer who formerly worked at the Treasury Department and in the Tax Division of the Justice Department, was confirmed as IRS chief counsel in a bipartisan vote of 83-15.


The IRS chief counsel plays a key role in guidance issued by the agency and is one of only two positions at the IRS that requires Senate confirmation, the other being IRS commissioner.

Trump’s nominee to be IRS commissioner, Charles Rettig, started in that role in October. There has not been a Senate-confirmed chief counsel since the start of Trump’s administration.

Desmond's confirmation comes as the IRS is currently working on developing a multitude of regulations to implement the tax-cut law Trump signed in December 2017.

Senators on both sides of the aisle supported Desmond’s nomination, viewing him as qualified for the job.

“Mr. Desmond has put his legal expertise to work through years of public service,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellProfessional sports players associations come out against coronavirus liability protections Democratic leaders report 'some progress' in talks with White House Top GOP senator urges agencies to protect renters, banks amid coronavirus aid negotiations MORE (R-Ky.).

Still, Desmond received 15 "no" votes — all from Democrats and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersCuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes Trump Spanish-language ad equates progressives, socialists Biden's tax plan may not add up MORE (I-Vt.), who caucuses with the Democrats.

The "no" votes included several Democratic presidential candidates, including Sanders and Democratic Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerUSAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA rule extends life of toxic coal ash ponds | Flint class action suit against Mich. officials can proceed, court rules | Senate Democrats introduce environmental justice bill Senate Democrats introduce environmental justice bill MORE (N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandBiden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Overnight Defense: Guardsman to testify Lafayette Square clearing was 'unprovoked escalation' | Dems push for controversial Pentagon nominee to withdraw | Watchdog says Pentagon not considering climate change risks to contractors Democrats urge controversial Pentagon policy nominee to withdraw MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Trump adviser Jason Miller: Biden running mate pick 'his political living will' MORE (Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHouse committee requests hearing with postmaster general amid mail-in voting concerns Biden should pick the best person for the job — not the best woman Senators press Postal Service over complaints of slow delivery MORE (Minn.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenCuba spells trouble for Bass's VP hopes Democrats want Biden to debate Trump despite risks Overnight Defense: Embattled Pentagon policy nominee withdraws, gets appointment to deputy policy job | Marines, sailor killed in California training accident identified | Governors call for extension of funding for Guard's coronavirus response MORE (Mass.).

Also of note was the opposition from Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezVOA visa decision could hobble Venezuela coverage Bottom line Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads MORE (D-N.J.), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, who is upset about IRS guidance designed to block blue states’ workarounds to the tax law’s $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deduction.