Senate confirms Trump’s nominee for key IRS role

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The Senate on Wednesday confirmed President Trump’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.

{mosads}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 McConnell (R-Ky.).

Still, Desmond received 15 “no” votes — all from Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who caucuses with the Democrats.

The “no” votes included several Democratic presidential candidates, including Sanders and Democratic Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).

Also of note was the opposition from Sen. Bob Menendez (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.

Tags Amy Klobuchar Bernie Sanders Bob Menendez Cory Booker Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Kirsten Gillibrand Mitch McConnell

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