Grassley: IRS Makes Good on Commitment to Hire 1,000 Veterans
WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today said the Internal Revenue
Service hired more than 1,000 veterans last year and is on track to meet the same target
this year. The hiring came at Grassley’s urging.
“The IRS recognized that veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have a lot to offer the
agency,” Grassley said. “It’s very good to see a verbal commitment from the IRS
commissioner followed through with action. That helps to reverse some public cynicism
In January 2008, Grassley realized that the Treasury Department, including the
IRS, lagged behind other federal agencies in hiring newly returned veterans, even though
the department had significant vacancies. Grassley urged the IRS commissioner nominee,
Doug Shulman, and then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to hire 1,000 veterans in one
year to fill vacant positions. Shulman, since confirmed as commissioner, recently wrote
Grassley to say the IRS hired 1,203 veterans in Fiscal Year 2008 and hired 700 more in
the first five months of Fiscal Year 2009.
Grassley is ranking member and former chairman of the Committee on Finance,
with Senate jurisdiction over tax policy.
The text of Shulman’s letter to Grassley and Grassley’s prior press releases and
letters on this topic follows here.
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Grassley says veterans should fill job vacancies at the IRS
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 the Internal Revenue Service and he’s asking the Treasury Secretary to do everything
possible to hire 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
of veterans,” Grassley said. “And veterans coming home right now are having a hard
time finding jobs in many cases. There's no question that these men and women are
extremely capable. So the case I’m making to the Treasury Secretary is that these
individuals offer the federal bureaucracy new energy, a fresh outlook and a ‘can do’
Grassley first urged the Internal Revenue Service to look at hiring 1,000 veterans
during a hearing two weeks ago for the new Commissioner. The nominee committed to
consider the possibility. Grassley said he’s following up with a letter to the Treasury
Secretary today to make sure the matter doesn’t get dropped.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, the agency needs to hire about 3,300
revenue agents and 4,600 tax examiners by next year to replace departing employees. In
2006, veterans made up 22 percent of new hires in federal agencies on average, but for
the Treasury Department it was only 6 percent.
“The vacancies at the Internal Revenue Service are a very good opportunity to
make the situation 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
responsible for tax policy and oversight of the Internal Revenue Service. The text of his
letter to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson follows here, along with a related news
release issued by Grassley on January 29.
February 13, 2008
The Honorable Henry M. Paulson, Jr.
Secretary of the Treasury
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220
Dear Secretary Paulson:
I urge your support for a goal of hiring 1,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan
wars for 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 country is honored by their service. There is no question that these men and
women are extremely capable. 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-needed energy, a fresh outlook and, most
importantly, a "can do" attitude that is much needed. Without question, the IRS will
benefit significantly from these veterans joining its ranks.
A September 28, 2007, Department of Veterans Affairs report highlighted the
many challenges war veterans face in finding good jobs upon returning home. This
report found that 18 percent of veterans were unemployed within one to three years of
discharge, while one out of four who did find employment earned less than $21,840 a
year. In addition, the VA report attributed the poor job prospects for these veterans to
inadequate job networks, a lack of mentors after 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 of new hires in federal departments for Fiscal Year 2006. However, the
Department of Treasury looked to veterans for only 6.4 percent of their 2006 job
openings. Furthermore, the Department of Treasury hired disabled veterans at a rate of
only 1.9 percent of new hires in 2006. These figures are extremely alarming to me.
I seek your commitment to implement a strategy for IRS to hire 1,000 veterans of
the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, with a particular emphasis on disabled veterans, during
Fiscal Year 2008. IRS Commissioner nominee Douglas Shulman, at his nomination
hearing before the Finance Committee on January 29, 2008, gave me assurances that if
confirmed, he would work toward such a goal. To assist me in understanding your
commitment to this effort, I seek your responses to the following inquiries:
1. Please provide me a discussion of how you will seek to implement this goal,
including outreach, job classifications and reclassifications, notification, working with
veterans' organizations, and working with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the
Department of Defense.
2. Please describe how Treasury and IRS will make this recruitment of veterans a
national effort. A July 2007 analysis by the Partnership for Public Service estimated that
IRS will need to hire about 3,350 revenue agents and 4,600 tax examiners by next year to
replace departing employees. However, a recent internet search for federal jobs by my
staff found only two IRS job 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 live across 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 to this very important matter.
Charles E. Grassley
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Grassley secures commitment from IRS nominee to consider veterans from Iraq, Afghanistan for vacant jobs at agency
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the
Committee on Finance, won assurances today from the nominee for IRS Commissioner
to try to hire 1,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans for agency positions during the
upcoming fiscal year.
“It’s important for the federal government to do everything it can to help
returning service men and women, including many who are disabled, find employment.
In turn, veterans offer a talented 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 it seems 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 and skilled staff to retirement over the next few years. Grassley said it makes
sense for the agency to actively pursue this kind of opportunity “to help veterans and
improve taxpayer services.”
Grassley said he would pursue any legislative changes needed to assist a hireveterans
effort by the IRS, though he also said he’s confident that the tax-collection
agency already has authority to undertake this kind of initiative.
Grassley presented his proposal and received a willing response from the IRS
nominee, Douglas Shulman, during a Finance Committee nomination hearing this
morning. Grassley said he looks forward to receiving feedback on how the incoming
commissioner would conduct outreach, job classifications and reclassifications,
notification and work with veterans’ organizations and the Departments of Veterans
Affairs and Defense.
Grassley has a long record of working to improve services provided by the IRS.
He worked to establish the IRS Restructuring Commission and win passage of IRS
overhaul legislation ten years ago. He previously co-authored numerous taxpayer bills of
rights, and he has conducted active oversight of the agency from his leadership position
on the tax policy committee in the United States Senate.
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