- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Sen. Joe Manchin III revealed Wednesday he will oppose confirming President Biden’s nominee to head the IRS in a protest vote against the way the administration has implemented Democrats’ tax and climate spending law known as the Inflation Reduction Act.

The conservative West Virginia Democrat’s bucking of Daniel Werfel for IRS commissioner came just hours before the Senate was set to vote on his confirmation but after months of Mr. Manchin accusing the administration of subverting the law when it came to doling out tax green energy credits for electric vehicles.

“Instead of adhering to congressional intent and prioritizing our nation’s energy and national security, the Treasury Department has pandered to automakers and progressive extremist groups and continued to sacrifice the national security of the United States of America,” Mr. Manchin said in a statement. “While Daniel Werfel is supremely qualified to serve as the IRS commissioner, I have zero faith he will be given the autonomy to perform the job in accordance with the law, and for that reason I cannot support his nomination.”

The Treasury Department, which oversees the IRS, has refused for months to comply with domestic sourcing requirements for EV components in order for consumers to receive tax credits of up to $7,500. The stringent rules were meant to alleviate U.S. dependency on foreign adversaries like China for minerals crucial for EV batteries.

Despite Mr. Manchin crossing party lines, Mr. Werfel is still expected to be confirmed Wednesday afternoon with bipartisan support. Six Senate Republicans — Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Todd Young of Indiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — voted for Mr. Werfel during a procedural vote Wednesday.

Mr. Werfel, 51, would replace Charles Rettig, a Trump appointee who left when his five-year term ended in November. Since then, an acting commissioner has been filling in.

Mr. Werfel is a managing partner at Boston Consulting Group and a former acting IRS commissioner and ex-U.S. Office of Management and Budget employee.

At his confirmation hearing last month, Mr. Werfel sought to assuage concerns from Republicans about the tax implications of the Inflation Reduction Act and its $80 billion boost to the IRS. He “committed to meeting” a directive from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that the IRS will not increase audit rates — relative to historic levels — for small businesses and households bringing in under $400,000.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, told reporters Wednesday that the “politics of this issue are driving much of the opposition” to Mr. Werfel and vowed to “work with Sen. Manchin every step of the way” to address his concerns.

• Ramsey Touchberry can be reached at rtouchberry@washingtontimes.com.

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