Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee, has threatened to hold up President Bush's nominee for the Treasury's top tax position, unless the department agrees to provide a comprehensive plan to close the tax gap by the end of September.Baucus said that neither assistant Treasury secretary nominee Eric Solomon nor new Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson had agreed to meet a Sept. 30 deadline for a plan to close the gap - the difference between taxes collected and taxes legally owed. Various estimates have put the hard-to-quantify number at upwards of $300 billion annually.

Solomon is currently serving as the deputy assistant secretary for tax policy, and is conducting a number of the Treasury tax duties in his current post. President Bush had nominated Solomon in May. Previously, Solomon was a partner at Ernst & Young, where he was a member of the Mergers & Acquisitions Group of the National Tax Department in Washington. Before his stint at the Big Four firm, he worked at the Internal Revenue Service for five years, serving as corporate assistant chief counsel and overseeing the agency's legal division, with responsibility for all corporate tax issues.

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