February 04,2014

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Finance Committee Approves Nominees for Customs, HHS, Tax Court

Baucus: “Nominees Are Ready to Take On Challenging Tasks Before Them”

WASHINGTON –Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) led the committee’s unanimous approval today of four nominations:

  • R. Gil Kerlikowske to be the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection
  • Dr. Richard Frank to be assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services
  • Judge Paige Marvel to serve a second term on the U.S. Tax Court
  • Tamara Ashford to serve on the U.S. Tax Court

“These nominees are ready to take on the challenging tasks before them,” Senator Baucus said.  “I’m pleased they were approved with such strong support from this committee, and I hope for their speedy approval in the full Senate.”

Kerlikowske is currently the director of national drug control in the Office of National Drug Control Policy at the White House, a position he has held since 2009. From 2000 to 2009, he served as chief of police in Seattle, Washington. From 1998 to 2000, he was deputy director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the U.S. Department of Justice. From 1994 to 1999, he was police commissioner of Buffalo, New York.  Kerlikowske served on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1970 to 1972, and in the Army Reserve from 1972 to 1976. He received a B.A. and an M.A. as well as a D.H.L. from the University of South Florida.

“Mr. Kerlikowske’s decades of experience will help ensure the flow of trade across our borders is efficient and secure,” Senator Baucus said. “His decorated career in public policy and law enforcement makes him eminently qualified to lead CBP.”

Frank is currently a professor in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School, a position he has held since 1994.  From August 2009 to March 2011, while on leave from Harvard Medical School, he served as the deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services.  Frank previously held faculty positions at Johns Hopkins University from 1984 to 1994 and at the University of Pittsburgh from 1980 to 1984.  Frank received a B.A. in Economics from Bard College and a Ph.D. in Economics from Boston University.

“Dr. Frank has a wealth of knowledge in his field that will be invaluable as he takes on this new role,” Senator Baucus said. “HHS will be well-served to have him as they continue to implement and oversee the Affordable Care Act, strengthen the safety net, and improve our health programs.”

Marvel currently serves as a judge of the U.S. Tax Court, a position she has held since April 1998.  Before becoming a judge at the U.S. Tax Court, she worked extensively in the private sector.  She received a B.A. from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law.

Ashford is currently the deputy assistant attorney general for appellate and review in the Tax Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), a position she has held since 2011. Previously, Ashford served as a senior advisor to the commissioner at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and also the U.S. director for the Joint International Tax Shelter Information Centre.  From 2004 to 2007, she served as assistant to the IRS commissioner. She also has experience in the private sector.  Ashford received her A.B. from Duke University, J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School, and an L.L.M. from the University of Miami School of Law.

The United States Tax Court hears a variety of tax law-related cases and gives taxpayers a dedicated venue to dispute IRS claims.  As judges on the Tax Court, Marvel and Ashford would help ensure the fair administration of the nation’s tax laws.

“Judge Marvel has proven herself on the Tax Court, and she deserves support from the full Senate for a second term,” Senator Baucus said. “Ms. Ashford has a sterling track record of public service that she will carry with her to the Tax Court. I know she will be swiftly confirmed.”