House Democrats on Tuesday furthered their push to force Republicans to take tough votes on President Trump, offering a resolution on the House floor to request Trump’s tax returns for the second time in a little over a week.
The resolution was blocked on a procedural vote of 227-186.
The resolution’s failure isn’t a surprise, but Democrats are committed to repeatedly forcing Republicans to go on the record about Trump.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told television news anchors last week that House Democrats are planning to push for a vote on Trump’s tax returns on a weekly basis.
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) offered a resolution on Tuesday instructing the House to request 10 years of Trump’s tax returns so that they can be considered by the House Ways and Means Committee in a closed session.
Under a provision of the Internal Revenue Code, the chairs of the Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation can request tax return information from the Treasury Department.
Eshoo tried to make the case for her resolution being “privileged,” meaning the House would have to act on it within two legislative days. But she was cut off by Rep. Steve WomackStephen (Steve) Allen WomackArkansas legislature splits Little Rock in move that guarantees GOP seats Funding fight imperils National Guard ops Overnight Defense: 6B Pentagon spending bill advances | Navy secretary nominee glides through hearing | Obstacles mount in Capitol security funding fight MORE (R-Ark.), who was presiding over the House. When Womack stopped Eshoo, other Democratic lawmakers booed.
Womack ruled the resolution was not privileged, which Eshoo appealed. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) then introduced a motion to table the appeal, and it was easily approved by Republicans.
Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) voted present, and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) voted with the Democrats. Both of them joined with a group of Democrats last week on a letter urging the tax returns to be requested.
Last week, Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) offered a similar resolution on the House floor, and it met the same result. A Democratic amendment on requesting Trump’s tax returns also failed in the House Ways and Means Committee last month.
Trump’s tax returns isn’t the only topic that Democrats have forced votes on in recent weeks. The House Judiciary Committee last week rejected a Democratic resolution to request documents from Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Those predicting Facebook's demise are blowing smoke If bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold MORE about Trump’s potential conflicts of interest and ties to Russia.
On the Senate side, Democrats have also been pushing Congress to request Trump’s tax returns.
Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSanders, 50 Democrats unveil bill to send N95 masks to all Americans Manchin told White House he would back version of billionaire tax: report Democrats look to scale back Biden bill to get it passed MORE (D-Ore.) and Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowMichigan Republican John James 'strongly considering' House run Updated reconciliation text includes electric vehicle tax credit opposed by Manchin Stabenow calls for expansion of school mental health services MORE (D-Mich.) on Tuesday sent Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMeet Washington's most ineffective senator: Joe Manchin Lobbying world Congress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage MORE (R-Utah) a letter reiterating their call for Hatch to request Trump’s tax returns.
“With the impartiality of the Department of Justice in question, it is more important than ever that members of the Senate’s tax writing committee—through your authority—understand who and what ties the President has to foreign governments,” Wyden and Stabenow wrote.
Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee had made a similar request to Hatch last week, which he rejected.
Wyden and Stabenow said Tuesday that they felt a need to renew their request in the wake of Sessions acknowledging that he spoke twice with the Russian ambassador last year. They also argued that Hatch’s response to their first letter “mischaracterized” their initial request.
Hatch and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOn The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Members of Congress not running for reelection in 2022 Trump war with GOP seeps into midterms MORE (R-Texas) have argued that requesting Trump’s tax returns would be an abuse of their authority and that Congress should focus instead on tax reform.
Trump is the first president in decades to not make his tax returns public. He has said he won’t release his returns while the IRS is auditing him. However, the IRS has said that nothing prevents taxpayers from releasing their own information.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that it was his understanding that Trump is still under audit.