Treasury Nominee Languishes in the Senate

This article was originally published by the Fiscal Times on Thursday, March 4, 2010.

While he awaits Senate confirmation, acting Treasury assistant secretary for tax policy Michael Mundaca has seen his job dwindle from a meaty policy role to a more technical position.

By Katherine Reynolds Lewis

Last fall, President Obama picked Michael F. Mundaca, a talented legal mind and political pragmatist, as assistant treasury secretary for tax policy. Former colleagues praised him as a gifted team builder, and many assumed Mundaca would play a central role in overhauling the tax code.

"His skill set is right in the sweet spot of where the activity is going to be," said Mark Weinberger, global vice chairman at Ernst & Young, who held the same spot during the Bush administration and worked with Mundaca at Ernst & Young.

Yet five months later, Mundaca is still waiting for the Senate to confirm his nomination and the administration's agenda doesn't include broad tax reform.

While he serves as acting assistant secretary and a senior advisor on tax policy at the Treasury, his job has dwindled from the meaty policy role seen in previous administrations to a more technical position of defending and implementing policy decisions that are largely made in the White House, according to Treasury observers.