President Barack Obama has chosen the new acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, a White House official says. This comes after the previous IRS commissioner — Steven T. Miller — was forced to resign amid allegations that the tax agency was putting conservative groups through extra scrutiny. While facing this scandal that could harm the legacy of his second term, Obama vowed he would take steps to prevent it from happening again. The man to take Steven T. Miller’s place is senior White House budget officer Daniel Werfel. It is unknown whether Werfel will be nominated to fill the vacancy full-time, but odds are in his favor as he is considered to have a good relationship with Senate Republicans.
Here is what you need to know about the new IRS commissioner, known in the White House as “Danny”:
1. Werferl was the Controller of the Office of Management and Budget
The 42-year-old Werfel is the controller of the Office of Management and Budget, as controller, Werfel is responsible for making sure that the departments and agencies of the federal government adhere to the sequestration law.The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is the largest office within the Exectuvie Office of the President of the United States. The main job of the OMB is to assist the President to prepare the budget
2. He Worked With The George W. Bush Administration
According to the Wall Street Journal, friends and colleagues said Mr. Werfel doesn’t come across as overtly political or partisan. He has held senior roles on the Bush and Obama White House budget teams. This is exactly what Obama needs in a new IRS commissioner as the recent scandal involved the unequal treatment of tea party groups. “Throughout his career working in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Danny has proven an effective leader who serves with professionalism, integrity and skill,” Obama said in a statement.
3. He is The White House’s Point Man Overseeing the Sequester
Werfel has been the administration’s point man on one of the delicate political problems in the last six months: the across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.
The “Sequester” refers to budget cuts to particular categories of federal spending that began on March 1, 2013. In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if they couldn’t agree on a plan to reduce the country’s deficit by $4 trillion an across the board budget cuts would start to take effect in 2013. Since Congress hasn’t compromised harmful cuts — known as the sequester — began March 1. The sequester was not Daniel Werfel’s idea, but it did became his problem. Werfel was named responsible for instructing federal agencies how to reduce spending in line with the $85 billion across-the-board, automatic spending cuts.
4. He Fought with Paul Ryan
In April 2012, Werfel tussled with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan at a congressional hearing about the sequester.
Ex-Vice President Nominee Paul Ryan pressed Werfel throughout the hearing on when OMB would release an analysis of the sequester’s impact on an account-by-account basis, and its plans for implementing it. Werfel noted that OMB has significant experience in contingency planning—continuing resolutions, government shutdown threats, etc. There’s “no specific timeframe” for this analysis; “At the appropriate time we will review our activities.”
5. He’s a Lawyer
Werfel holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Duke University, a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.