May 08,2009

Press Contact:

Dan Virkstis, 202-224-4515

Baucus Hearing Statement Regarding the Nomination of Neal S. Wolin to be Deputy Secretary of Treasury

The author Georges Bernanos said:

“A thought which does not result in an action is nothing much, and an action which does not proceed from a thought is nothing at all.”

Today, we have before us Neal Wolin, whom President Obama has nominated to be Deputy Secretary of Treasury. Mr. Wolin, in your new role, you must be ready both to think, and to act.

These difficult economic times demand action.

But as Bernanos said, this action must be based on thought — creative thought, careful thought, deliberate thought. It must be based on thought that incorporates the lessons of the past, and thought that envisions the potential of the future.

Mr. Wolin, you have shown yourself to be a thinker. You have spent several years in public service, both at the White House and as Deputy General Counsel and General Counsel at Treasury.

During this time, you examined complicated financial, tax, and economic issues. You helped to guide Treasury through economic storms and economic growth.

As Deputy Secretary, you must bring all this experience to the table. This experience must guide your thinking. And this thinking must guide your actions.

Your thoughts and actions will have a direct effect on how quickly our country recovers its economic strength. As Deputy Secretary, you will help oversee our financial recovery.

You must ensure that these plans are sound. You must also ensure that these plans are transparent. The American people deserve to know the purposes for which their taxpayer dollars are being used. And they must believe that their hard-earned money is being put to good use.

Your thought and actions will help to guide the Internal Revenue Service. We owe it to all Americans to ensure that all taxpayers pay their fair share of tax and file their returns in a timely manner.

That’s the only way that we can begin to close the tax gap, which has been estimated at $345 billion every year. During these challenging economic times, when demands on the budget are so great, the IRS must first collect all the revenues that are legally owed. We must pursue those who evade their taxes by improperly moving their assets offshore. And we should consider opportunities to reform the tax code in a fair and responsible way.

Your thoughts and actions, along with those of this Committee and this Congress, will help determine how we reform the tax code. This week, as part of its budget, the administration announced several international tax proposals that would directly affect American multinational corporations.

These proposals would change American companies’ ability to defer tax on foreign earnings, the calculation of foreign tax credits, the classification of foreign businesses, and the use of offshore tax havens by individuals.

As these proposals demonstrate, our international tax system is complex. We must approach fundamental changes to our tax code with thought and care. We need to ensure that our tax policies are fair and support American businesses. We must design these policies to encourage economic growth and create the jobs that Americans need and deserve.

Your thoughts and actions will help to drive America’s international economic policy. Finding global solutions to our global crisis is as important as ever, whether coordinating recovery and regulatory efforts, or urging market-based reforms and sustainable growth.

Our economic relationship with China must top this international agenda. And its success will require sustained and energetic efforts by Secretary Geithner and at every level at the Treasury.

We also need to reassess our relationship with Cuba. As Deputy Secretary, you will oversee the Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC.

Despite Congress’s clear intent to facilitate sales of American agriculture products to Cuba, OFAC continues to adhere to obsolete regulations that make it difficult for American farmers and ranchers to sell their products in a market just 90 miles from our shores.

Next week, I plan to introduce a bill that will correct these policies and ensure that Montana’s farmers and ranchers have reliable access to that market. I hope that you will work with me to further this important goal.

Mr. Wolin, the road ahead is difficult. But I believe that you will be able to navigate it. I expect you to do so with innovative and deliberate thought. And it is my hope and belief that your thought will result in successful and decisive action.