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Budget official picked to lead IRS

Daniel Werfel helped implement budget cuts.

Daniel Werfel helped implement budget cuts.

WASHINGTON — President Obama picked a senior White House budget official to become the acting head of the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday, the same day another top official announced plans to leave the agency amid the controversy over agents targeting tea party groups.

Obama named longtime civil servant Daniel Werfel as the acting commissioner. Werfel, 42, currently serves as controller of the Office of Management and Budget, making him a key player in implementing recent automatic spending cuts known as the sequester.

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“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. “The American people deserve to have the utmost confidence and trust in their government, and as we work to get to the bottom of what happened and restore confidence in the IRS, Danny has the experience and management ability necessary to lead the agency at this important time.”

Werfel replaces Steven Miller as acting IRS commissioner. Miller was forced to resign Wednesday amid the growing scandal, though he is still scheduled to testify Friday at a congressional hearing.

Also Thursday, Joseph Grant, one of Miller’s top deputies, announced plans to retire June 3. Grant is commissioner of the agency’s tax exempt and government entities division, which includes the agents that targeted tea party groups for additional scrutiny.

Grant joined the IRS in 2005. Before that he was a top official at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

Werfel agreed to head the IRS through the end of September, the White House said.

Presumably, Obama will nominate a new commissioner by then.

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