House GOP blocks effort to delay tax reform until review of Trump’s returns
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House Republicans on Wednesday blocked a Democratic effort to demand President Trump’s tax returns for the sixth time in as many weeks.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) offered a resolution directing the House to delay consideration of tax reform legislation until after lawmakers review Trump’s tax returns and conclude how he could benefit from changes to the tax code.

All but two Republicans voted to table the resolution on an otherwise party-line vote of 228-185. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) voted with Democrats, while Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) voted “present.” Both have called on Trump to release his tax returns.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (Ore.) was the sole Democrat to defect in the party's effort to call for Trump's tax returns. He voted "present" on Wednesday, as he also did a week ago, after supporting the previous four Democratic resolutions demanding the president's tax returns.

A spokeswoman said DeFazio thinks Democrats "are trivializing the issue by offering repetitive motions, which we all know will be ruled out of order. We need to look for other avenues."

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Democrats have been forcing weekly votes on resolutions to call on the House committee with jurisdiction over the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to request Trump’s tax returns.

As with the other five resolutions, Jeffries offered his measure as “privileged,” which triggers House action within two legislative days. 

“We don’t work for the executive branch; we don’t work for President Trump. We work for the people of this great nation, and the American people overwhelmingly want the president’s tax returns released,” Jeffries said before Wednesday’s vote.

“How can we work with him on this legislation if we do not know how the proposed reforms might financially benefit him or the companies or countries to which he has business entanglements?” he asked. 

But Republicans sided with the House’s presiding officer, Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.), that the resolution didn’t qualify as “privileged” by raising questions about the House’s dignity and integrity.

Trump broke with four decades of precedent by refusing to make his tax returns public during the 2016 campaign. He has said he won’t release his returns while he’s being audited by the IRS.

The IRS, however, has said people can still disclose their tax returns even if they’re under audit. 

An ABC News-Washington Post poll conducted in January found that 74 percent of Americans think Trump should release his tax returns, including 40 percent of those polled who say they care “a lot” about the president releasing them. 

Earlier Wednesday, House Democrats announced a “discharge petition” on a bill that would require presidents and presidential nominees to release their tax returns.

Discharge petitions can force floor votes on legislation if a majority of House members sign on to them. The procedure, typically used by the minority, is rarely successful.

The legislation, authored by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), would force presidents to disclose their three most recent years of tax returns to the Office of Government Ethics. Major-party presidential nominees would provide the same number of returns to the Federal Election Commission.

In the event presidents or nominees refused to comply, the Treasury Department would have to provide redacted copies of the tax returns for public viewing. 

Only two Republicans, Sanford and Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashLawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar House Democrats targeting six more Trump districts for 2020 Sanford headed to New Hampshire amid talk of challenge to Trump MORE (Mich.), have signed on to the underlying bill.

Updated: 5:06 p.m.