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Senate okays new IRS chief

The Senate confirmed President Clinton's choice for IRS commissioner Monday after using the debate to focus on overhauling the troubled tax agency and revamping the tax code.

The Senate voted 92-0 to approve management consultant Charles O. Rossotti, 56, of Washington, D.C. He becomes the first non-tax lawyer or accountant to head the agency in decades.

"We have brought in the right man to do the job at the right time," said Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the IRS.

Approval of Rossotti comes as the House is expected to pass an IRS restructuring bill later this week. The bill, sponsored by House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer, R-Texas, establishes an 11-member oversight board and modifies personnel rules to promote innovative workers while removing laggards.

The Senate, however, has resisted pressure from House leaders and the White House to act on IRS restructuring this year.

"It is likely we will get only one shot at restructuring the IRS," Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth said.

"We must make certain that reform legislation addresses all of the problems that we are finding," he said, in reference to the committee's investigation into alleged IRS abuses of taxpayers.

Rossotti is chairman and a founder at the Fairfax, Va.-based American Management Systems, which has 7,000 workers in 53 cities worldwide.