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 TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated 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.

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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 McConnellAre Democrats turning Trump-like? House Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' Churches are arming and training congregants in response to mass shootings: report MORE (R-Ky.).

Still, Desmond received 15 "no" votes — all from Democrats and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJoe Biden faces an uncertain path Bernie Sanders vows to go to 'war with white nationalism and racism' as president Biden: 'There's an awful lot of really good Republicans out there' MORE (I-Vt.), who caucuses with the Democrats.

The "no" votes included several Democratic presidential candidates, including Sanders and Democratic Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape Steve King to Gillibrand: Odds of me resigning same as yours of winning presidential nomination We need a climate plan for agriculture MORE (N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGillibrand: Rosy economic outlook not 'reflected in everyday, kitchen-table issues families are facing' Chris Wallace becomes Trump era's 'equal opportunity inquisitor' Steve King to Gillibrand: Odds of me resigning same as yours of winning presidential nomination MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisJoe Biden faces an uncertain path Biden: 'There's an awful lot of really good Republicans out there' Fighter pilot vs. astronaut match-up in Arizona could determine control of Senate MORE (Calif.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharPoll: Nearly 4 in 5 say they will consider candidates' stances on cybersecurity The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape Native American advocates question 2020 Democrats' commitment MORE (Minn.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPossible GOP challenger says Trump doesn't doesn't deserve reelection, but would vote for him over Democrat Joe Biden faces an uncertain path The Memo: Trump pushes back amid signs of economic slowdown MORE (Mass.).

Also of note was the opposition from Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezHouse passes temporary immigration protections for Venezuelans Senate panel advances bipartisan bill to lower drug prices amid GOP blowback Democrats pledge to fight Trump detention policy during trip to border 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.