House panel rejects measure to seek Trump's tax returns

House panel rejects measure to seek Trump's tax returns
© Getty Images

A House panel on Thursday rejected another Democratic resolution to request President Trump’s tax returns, as Republicans are increasing their focus on overhauling the tax code.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted along party lines to unfavorably report the measure to the House Floor.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) had introduced the resolution shortly before the House left for its monthlong August recess. He introduced the measure the same day that key GOP lawmakers and administration officials released joint tax-reform principles.

ADVERTISEMENT

The measure was a “resolution of inquiry,” meaning the bill could have received a floor vote if the panel didn't act within 14 legislative days of it being introduced.

Democrats have sought to force votes on Trump’s tax returns on numerous occasions this year, both in the Ways and Means Committee and on the House floor. While their efforts have been unsuccessful, they have sought to keep the pressure on Republicans ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Pascrell’s resolution directs the Treasury Department to provide the House with 10 years of Trump’s personal tax returns as well as tax return information for the president’s businesses.

The New Jersey lawmaker and other Democrats argued that it’s important to see Trump’s tax returns to learn about any potential conflicts of interest and to see how the president would personally benefit from any tax-reform legislation.

“The information is important for the American people so they know that their president is always acting in their best interest,” said Rep. Richard Neal (Mass.), the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee.

But Republicans argued that the measure is politically motivated and that requesting the information would be an invasion of privacy.

“To be frank, this measure is a procedural tool being utilized, and I believe abused, for obvious political purposes,” Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOvernight Health Care: Initial Senate tax bill doesn't repeal ObamaCare mandate | 600K sign up for ObamaCare in first four days | Feds crack down on opioid trafficking Overnight Finance: Senate GOP unveils different approach on tax reform | House tax bill heads to floor | House leaders eye vote next week | AT&T denies pressure for CNN sale GOP tax bill clears hurdle, heads to House floor MORE (R-Texas) said.

Trump is the first president in decades who has not disclosed his tax returns. He said during the campaign that he wouldn’t release them because of an IRS audit. However, the IRS has said that audits don’t prevent people from releasing their own tax information.