Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a key Democratic vote in the evenly divided Senate, announced on Monday that he would oppose the nomination of Daniel Werfel, President Joe Biden’s choice to head the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Manchin’s opposition to Werfel’s nomination came as a surprise to many in Washington, as the confirmation vote is expected tonight. In a statement released on Wednesday, the senator clarified that his opposition to Werfel’s nomination was not due to concerns about the nominee’s qualifications or abilities.
Manchin praised Werfel’s qualifications, calling him “supremely qualified to serve as the IRS Commissioner.” However, the West Virginian senator expressed doubt that Werfel would be given the autonomy necessary to carry out his duties by the law.
“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.”
Manchin made it clear that his decision was based on his concerns about the Biden administration’s handling of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which he believes has been disregarded by the Treasury Department.
“At every turn, this Administration has ignored Congressional intent when implementing the Inflation Reduction Act,” Manchin said. “Instead of adhering to Congressional intent and prioritizing our nation’s energy and national security, the Treasury Department has pandered to auto makers and progressive extremist groups and continued to sacrifice the national security of the United States of America.”
The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in 2021, was designed to reduce inflation and increase energy security by promoting the development of domestic energy resources. It includes provisions that require the Treasury Department to prioritize the onshoring of supply and manufacturing chains, particularly in the energy sector.
The Biden administration has been criticized by some Republicans and conservative groups for what they see as a lack of commitment to the IRA’s goals. Manchin’s opposition to Werfel’s nomination will likely fuel those criticisms and could make it more difficult for the Biden administration to get its nominees through the Senate.
Werfel briefly served as acting IRS commissioner during the Obama administration and is a partner at the private consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, where he has worked for nearly a decade. It remains to be seen how Manchin’s decision will affect Werfel’s chances of being confirmed by the Senate.