GOP rejects Dem effort to demand Trump’s tax returns ahead of Senate vote
© Greg Nash

House Republicans on Wednesday rebuffed a Democratic attempt to demand President Trump release his tax returns to show how he would be affected by the GOP’s tax overhaul.

The latest effort from Democrats as part of a procedural vote failed along party lines ahead of an expected vote in the Senate this week to pass the Republican tax-reform plan.

Rep. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooLawmakers split over how to expand rural broadband Hillicon Valley: Senate votes to save net neutrality | Senate panel breaks with House, says Russia favored Trump in 2016 | Latest from Cambridge Analytica whistleblower | Lawmakers push back on helping Chinese tech giant Overnight Finance: House panel to take up bill toughening review of foreign deals | Trump acknowledges Cohen payment on disclosure form | Officials set for new round of China trade talks MORE (D-Calif.), the author of legislation to require presidents and major-party presidential candidates to disclose their three previous years of returns, said the public should know how and if Trump would benefit from the overhaul.

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Eshoo cited provisions of the GOP’s proposal that could benefit Trump, such as eliminating the alternative minimum tax, which was designed to prevent wealthy Americans from avoiding taxes, and the estate tax, which applies to estates of $5.5 million or more.

“While it’s very clear that the Republican tax bill will harm the middle class, it’s less clear how the bill will benefit one taxpayer in particular, if he pays any taxes: the president of the United States of America,” Eshoo said during House floor debate.

Trump broke with four decades of precedent by refusing to release his tax returns during his 2016 campaign for the White House. He cited an ongoing IRS audit, although the agency has said that individuals under audit can still make their tax returns public.

Trump reportedly claimed to Senate Democrats earlier this month that his accountant told him that he would personally “get killed” financially by the GOP tax proposal.

Yet the public is not able to assess how the GOP’s proposal to overhaul the tax code would affect Trump and his family without seeing his tax returns.

Democrats repeatedly forced weekly votes earlier this year to call on Trump to release his tax returns. But those efforts, also in the form of procedural votes, were all defeated along party lines.

Two Republicans, Reps. Walter JonesWalter Beaman JonesDems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia GOP rep refutes Trump's account of Sanford attacks: 'People were disgusted' Trump claims Sanford remarks booed by lawmakers were well-received MORE (N.C.) and Mark SanfordMarshall (Mark) Clement SanfordPutin summit puts spotlight back on Trump's tax returns GOP lawmaker says he met accused Russian agent at Thanksgiving barbecue House votes to disavow carbon tax MORE (S.C.), defected from their party on those efforts. Jones voted with the Democrats in support of the resolutions, while Sanford voted “present.”

Jones voted with Democrats on Wednesday's procedural vote. 

The Wednesday vote also came ahead of Trump’s visit to St. Charles, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, to sell the GOP tax-reform proposal.

Rep. Lacy ClayWilliam (Lacy) Lacy ClayOcasio-Cortez draws ire from Democrats: ‘Meteors fizz out’ New Dem star to rattle DC establishment Ocasio-Cortez to visit Capitol Hill next week MORE (D-Mo.) cited comments from the Republican chairman of the Missouri House Budget Committee this month expressing concern about the GOP tax bill resulting in less revenue for the state.

“The majority likes to talk about family values. And there’s no doubt that extremely wealthy families like President Trump’s will reap millions from the GOP tax scam,” Clay said.

The House bill, which passed earlier this month, would eliminate the state and local tax deduction. But it would preserve a property tax deduction of up to $10,000.

The Senate version, meanwhile, gets rid of the state and local tax deduction entirely, though Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report — Russia furor grips Washington Overnight Health Care: Novartis pulls back on drug price hikes | House Dems launch Medicare for All caucus | Trump officials pushing ahead on Medicaid work requirements Senate panel to vote next week on banning 'gag clauses' in pharmacy contracts MORE (R-Maine) is pushing to include the property tax deduction compromise as outlined in the House bill.

Both measures would nearly double the standard deduction, which taxpayers can use instead of itemizing their deductions.

The Senate is expected to vote to pass its tax legislation as soon as Thursday, following the House vote on its version before the Thanksgiving break.