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Obama names budget official Werfel as acting IRS head

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama named top White House budget office aide Daniel Werfel to be acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, the White House said on Thursday.

Obama ousted acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller late on Wednesday shortly after the revelation the IRS had targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny. The president called the targeting inexcusable, but the incident has become a embarrassment for him.

Werfel is controller of the White House Office of Management and Budget. He was in the public eye earlier this year when he briefed reporters about deep government spending cuts that went into effect March 1 under the process known as sequestration.

Werfel warned at the time that sequestration would pose "a serious threat to our national security, domestic priorities and the economy." Many economists say that if the cuts had not occurred, unemployment would be lower, and Congress acted quickly to prevent the reductions from disrupting air traffic, but in general, sequestration has so far not had the dire effects the administration predicted.

Werfel, a longtime civil servant, has served in both Republican and Democratic administrations and earned praise for his mastery of budget details.

"Danny has a strong record of raising his hand for - and excelling at - tough management assignments," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, his former supervisor at the budget office, said in a statement. "He is also a familiar face on Capitol Hill, where he has testified many times and always demonstrates both his characteristic humility and his complete mastery of the subject matter."

The IRS is an arm of the Treasury Department.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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