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Manchin Won’t Back Werfel to Lead IRS as Feud with White House Continues

Joe Manchin called Daniel Werfel “supremely qualified” but has “zero faith” he would have autonomy in the post.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, presides over a hearing on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images/TNS)

By Steven T. Dennis, Bloomberg News (TNS)

Senator Joe Manchin will oppose Daniel Werfel, President Joe Biden’s pick for IRS commissioner, the latest salvo in a long-running dispute with the White House over the implementation of Inflation Reduction Act provisions the West Virginia Democrat authored.

Daniel Werfel

Manchin’s vote against Werfel, who has bipartisan support, isn’t likely to stop his confirmation to lead the IRS. But Werfel is the third Biden nominee that Manchin has opposed since Friday, signaling a widening gulf between the moderate Senator and the Biden administration. 

Manchin called Werfel “supremely qualified” for the job, but said he has “zero faith” he would have any autonomy in the post. Manchin in particular has blasted Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for the implementation of the electric vehicle tax credit rewrite he authored.

“At every turn, this Administration has ignored Congressional intent when implementing the Inflation Reduction Act,” he said in a statement.

Manchin rewrote the tax credits to require production of EVs in North America and a percentage of battery materials to be sourced in the US or free-trade nations to fully qualify—provisions aimed at bringing supply and manufacturing chains to the US and its allies and away from being dependent on China.

“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,” Manchin said. 

Biden is planning to host European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the White House on Friday, with talks expected to focus around a possible agreement that would allow cars assembled in Europe to qualify for an electric vehicle tax credit.

A White House official noted Werfel’s bipartisan support, his past service in both Democratic and Republican administrations and said they urge the Senate to confirm him.

— With assistance by Justin Sink


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