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Baucus Lifts Objection To Key Treasury Nomination

by Leroy Baker,, New York

12 December 2006

US Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont) has announced that he will lift his objection to the confirmation of Eric Solomon as Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy, after receiving a commitment from Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to testify on the $345 billion tax gap at a Senate Finance Committee next year.

Baucus has blocked Solomon’s nomination over the Treasury Department’s failure to provide a comprehensive, credible plan for closing the gap – the difference between taxes legally owed and taxes actually collected in a timely fashion.

However, Baucus revealed that in a conversation with Paulson last week, the Treasury secretary agreed to appear before the Finance Committee after the President’s FY2008 budget is delivered to Congress next year. This, said Baucus, paved the way for a vote on Solomon's nomination.

“I’m glad the Secretary agreed to testify before the Finance Committee about what I consider to be a vitally important economic issue, and I look forward to hearing from him about the solid goals and benchmarks that will make Treasury’s tax gap plan into a real strategy for action," the Senator said in a statement.

“As Eric Solomon continues his exemplary public service, I fully expect that he and the Secretary will turn over a new leaf at Treasury in tackling the tax gap. I believe the Secretary and I have an understanding on the importance of this issue. I’m committed to working closely with him in the coming year," he added.

The post of Assistant Treasury Secretary is considered a vital position within the Treasury as postholders play a central role in the shaping of tax policy.

The nomination by President Bush was generally welcomed by senior administration officials, lawmakers and tax experts, who have praised Solomon's record of successfully overseeing new regulatory guidance during a period of frequent change to tax legislation.

Solomon, first joined the Treasury in 1999, and in his latest role served as Treasury's Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regulatory Affairs.

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