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Mr. Chairman, Senator Baucus, Members of the Senate Finance Committee:

I am deeply honored to appear before this Committee as the President's nominee to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy. I am grateful to President Bush and Secretary O'Neill for the opportunity to serve my country in this capacity, and to Chairman Grassley and Senator Baucus for expediting this process and holding this hearing.

It was a short four months ago that I appeared before this Committee as a nominee of President Clinton to serve as a member of the Social Security Advisory Board. I appreciated then this Committee's consideration, and the support of the full Senate, in confirming me to serve the government and the American people in that capacity. I am proud of the work of the board and honored to serve with its other distinguished members to analyze the important policy and administrative issues that our Social Security and disability programs face.

I began my government service with a Member of this Committee, Senator John Danforth (R-MO), in 1990. Working with the Members and staff of the Finance Committee taught me some of the fundamentals of good government which are highly relevant today. This Committee's thoughtful consideration of policy, its search for consensus, and its tradition of comity are the benchmarks to which any public official or organization aspires. I am proud to have had the opportunity to serve this Committee.

On the path to this point in my career I have taken many turns. Upon leaving the Finance Committee I was fortunate to have the opportunity to serve as Chief of Staff and Counsel to the President's Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform, chaired by Senators Bob Kerrey (D-NE) and Jack Danforth. I also served as a Commissioner on the bipartisan National Commission on Retirement Security, with Senator Breaux (D-LA), of this Committee. If confirmed by the Senate I will continue to work in the same bipartisan spirit.

I started a law firm with several friends and colleagues named Washington Counsel, PC. The firm was made up of an outstanding group of individuals who taught me the true value of teamwork. I most recently served as the Director of the National Tax practice for Ernst & Young. I was truly humbled by the incredible talent of the people there.

Once again - now - I find myself before this Committee. This Committee is on the front line for decision-making at one of the most momentous times in our history. The Federal government's projected surpluses over the next decade are unprecedented. The scope of the issues that will be faced in this regard over the next few years, primarily with respect to programs under the jurisdiction of the Committee on Finance, could not be broader.

Decisions this Committee makes will have a profound effect on the quality of life of every man, woman and child in this country. If confirmed, I look forward to being a part of that discussion with you, and I am sure that the answers you arrive at will serve our country well.

Lastly, and most importantly, I would like to recognize my family. If I could have them at this table with me today I would. I can not do justice in words when expressing my love and appreciation for my wonderful wife and children. My wife Nancy, and four children Rachel, Noah, Sean and Ben, truly are my beginning and end. They cheerfully support all my mounting commitments in life and give me the strength, courage and refuge needed to face life's challenges and opportunities.

It is a great privilege to be here today and I look forward to answering your questions.

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