February 13,2008

Grassley follows up with Treasury Secretary on hiring 1,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans for IRS jobs

Senator follows up on commitment made by IRS nominee to consider 1,000 hires

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley said today there are job opportunities at theInternal Revenue Service and he’s asking the Treasury Secretary to do everything possible tohire veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for these vacant positions.

“There’s a lot of room for improvement in the Internal Revenue Service’s hiring ofveterans,” Grassley said. “And veterans coming home right now are having a hard time findingjobs in many cases. There's no question that these men and women are extremely capable. Sothe case I’m making to the Treasury Secretary is that these individuals offer the federalbureaucracy new energy, a fresh outlook and a ‘can do’ attitude.”

Grassley first urged the Internal Revenue Service to look at hiring 1,000 veterans duringa hearing two weeks ago for the new Commissioner. The nominee committed to consider thepossibility. Grassley said he’s following up with a letter to the Treasury Secretary today to makesure the matter doesn’t get dropped.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the agency needs to hire about 3,300 revenueagents and 4,600 tax examiners by next year to replace departing employees. In 2006, veteransmade up 22 percent of new hires in federal agencies on average, but for the Treasury Departmentit was only 6 percent.

“The vacancies at the Internal Revenue Service are a very good opportunity to make thesituation right, especially for disabled veterans who have served our country so honorably,”Grassley said.

Grassley is Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance, which is responsiblefor tax policy and oversight of the Internal Revenue Service. The text of his letter to TreasurySecretary Henry M. Paulson follows here, along with a related news release issued by Grassleyon January 29.

February 13, 2008

The Honorable Henry M. Paulson, Jr.Secretary of the TreasuryDepartment of the Treasury1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NWWashington, D.C. 20220

Dear Secretary Paulson:

I urge your support for a goal of hiring 1,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan warsfor positions at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this fiscal year.

The nation is seeing a significant number of veterans, many of whom are disabled,returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. These are extraordinary men and women, and our countryis honored by their service. There is no question that these men and women are extremelycapable. I think it is important for the IRS to do all that it can to hire these returning veterans,and it is clear that the IRS offers many opportunities for these servicemen and servicewomen,particularly the disabled. They will bring to the federal government a great deal of much-neededenergy, a fresh outlook and, most importantly, a "can do" attitude that is much needed. Withoutquestion, the IRS will benefit significantly from these veterans joining its ranks.

A September 28, 2007, Department of Veterans Affairs report highlighted the manychallenges war veterans face in finding good jobs upon returning home. This report found that18 percent of veterans were unemployed within one to three years of discharge, while one out offour who did find employment earned less than $21,840 a year. In addition, the VA reportattributed the poor job prospects for these veterans to inadequate job networks, a lack of mentorsafter extended periods of deployment, and employers' misplaced stereotypes about veterans'fitness for employment.

According to the Office of Personnel Management, veterans comprised 22.1 percent ofnew hires in federal departments for Fiscal Year 2006. However, the Department of Treasurylooked to veterans for only 6.4 percent of their 2006 job openings. Furthermore, the Departmentof Treasury hired disabled veterans at a rate of only 1.9 percent of new hires in 2006. Thesefigures are extremely alarming to me.

I seek your commitment to implement a strategy for IRS to hire 1,000 veterans of the Iraqand Afghanistan wars, with a particular emphasis on disabled veterans, during Fiscal Year 2008.IRS Commissioner nominee Douglas Shulman, at his nomination hearing before the FinanceCommittee on January 29, 2008, gave me assurances that if confirmed, he would work towardsuch a goal. To assist me in understanding your commitment to this effort, I seek your responsesto the following inquiries:

1. Please provide me a discussion of how you will seek to implement this goal, includingoutreach, job classifications and reclassifications, notification, working with veterans'organizations, and working with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department ofDefense.

2. Please describe how Treasury and IRS will make this recruitment of veterans a nationaleffort. A July 2007 analysis by the Partnership for Public Service estimated that IRS will need tohire about 3,350 revenue agents and 4,600 tax examiners by next year to replace departingemployees. However, a recent internet search for federal jobs by my staff found only two IRSjob openings in my home state of Iowa. As veterans face employment difficulties in every state,please explain how IRS plans to expand job opportunities for veterans in the places that they liveacross the country.

3. Finally, if there are any legislative changes that you believe will aid or assist this effort,please identify them.

I ask for your written responses by April 1, 2008. Thank you for your prompt attention tothis very important matter.

Cordially yours,

Charles E. GrassleyRanking Member

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Committee onFinance, won assurances today from the nominee for IRS Commissioner to try to hire 1,000 Iraq andAfghanistan veterans for agency positions during the upcoming fiscal year.

“It’s important for the federal government to do everything it can to help returning servicemen and women, including many who are disabled, find employment. In turn, veterans offer atalented and dedicated work force,” Grassley said. “These are extraordinary young men and women,and our country is honored by their service. The IRS is facing a skilled worker shortage, and itseems obvious that the agency could benefit from veterans’ experience, energy and ‘can do’attitude.”

It’s anticipated that the IRS will lose a significant number of experienced personnel andskilled staff to retirement over the next few years. Grassley said it makes sense for the agency toactively pursue this kind of opportunity “to help veterans and improve taxpayer services.”Grassley said he would pursue any legislative changes needed to assist a hire-veterans effortby the IRS, though he also said he’s confident that the tax-collection agency already has authorityto undertake this kind of initiative.

Grassley presented his proposal and received a willing response from the IRS nominee,Douglas Schulman, during a Finance Committee nomination hearing this morning. Grassley saidhe looks forward to receiving feedback on how the incoming commissioner would conduct outreach,job classifications and reclassifications, notification and work with veterans’ organizations and theDepartments of Veterans Affairs and Defense.

Grassley has a long record of working to improve services provided by the IRS. He workedto establish the IRS Restructuring Commission and win passage of IRS overhaul legislation tenyears ago. He previously co-authored numerous taxpayer bills of rights, and he has conducted activeoversight of the agency from his leadership position on the tax policy committee in the United StatesSenate.