Robert Novak

Paul Cherecwich, IRS Oversight Board chairman, urged "quick action" after the lawmakers return Dec. 4 "to mitigate" the risks. Continued congressional gridlock, he said, could delay as many as 37.7 million tax refunds totaling $87 billion.

Cherecwich warned that the delay could cause "taxpayers who have been filing electronically [to] revert to paper filing," preventing the IRS from issuing refunds within the 45-day statutory limit. He also cited "the risk of both deliberate and unintended non-compliance" by taxpayers caused by the delays.


Contrary to published reports, there is zero possibility that Mississippi's Republican Gov. Haley Barbour will name 70-year-old retired federal Judge Charles Pickering to the Senate vacancy created by Sen. Trent Lott's impending resignation.

Barbour feels Mississippi's tradition is for U.S. senators holding their seats for many years, not temporary seat warmers. Judge Pickering's 44-year-old son, Rep. Chip Pickering, would be the leading prospect to be selected if he had not announced he would leave Congress because of his family's needs.

Mississippi is unique in electing only four senators over the last 64 years. James O. Eastland and John C. Stennis were in the Senate for 35 and 42 years respectively. Of their successors, Thad Cochran has been in office 29 years and Lott will have served for 19 years.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

©Creators Syndicate