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By Patrick Temple-West
WASHINGTON Dec 13 A U.S. Senate panel voted on
Friday to confirm President Barack Obama's choice to be the next
Internal Revenue Service commissioner, sending his nomination to
the full Senate.
In a voice vote, the Senate Finance Committee, as expected,
confirmed John Koskinen to be the next chief tax collector. The
earliest the full Senate could vote would be on Monday.
Koskinen is a 74-year-old lawyer with little tax experience,
but is an adept manager with a reputation as a trouble-shooter.
He would replace the IRS's acting commissioner, Danny Werfel.
Koskinen would join the IRS as it recovers from its worst
crisis in more than a decade. In May, the agency apologized for
targeting conservative political groups inappropriately and the
furor that ensued cost Werfel his job.
Before the committee vote, some Republicans complained that
Democrats rushed Koskinen's nomination. His confirmation hearing
ended on Wednesday, leaving little time for following up, they
Republican Senator Pat Roberts said he voted against
Koskinen out of "frustration" with the way Republicans had been
treated by Democrats, who have a majority in the 100-member
After years of Republicans blocking or delaying Obama's
picks for various positions, Democrats voted to reduce to a
simple majority from 60 the number of votes needed to end a
filibuster against nominees, except those for the Supreme Court.
"The breakdown of the rules and tradition of the Senate ...
has been allowed to infect the workings of this committee," said
Republican Senator Charles Grassley, who voted for Koskinen.
(Reporting by Patrick Temple-West; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh
and Vicki Allen)