House defeats latest Dem effort on Trump's tax returns

House defeats latest Dem effort on Trump's tax returns

For the 10th time in the last several months, Republicans on Wednesday blocked a Democratic resolution offered on the House floor requesting President Trump’s tax returns.

The measure was defeated on a procedural vote of 227-188 that fell largely along party lines.

The resolution was offered by Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee’s tax policy subcommittee.

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It would have directed the House to request Trump’s personal tax returns and the returns of the president’s business entities. It also would have called on the House to delay the consideration of tax-reform legislation until Trump’s returns were obtained.

“This resolution seeks to protect the integrity of the proceedings of the House,” Doggett said.

He offered the measure as “privileged,” which would require the House action. However, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who was presiding over the House, determined that the resolution wasn’t privileged. The House took a roll-call vote on a motion to table an appeal of that ruling.

Democrats have undertaken a number of efforts to demand Trump’s tax returns since the president’s inauguration. They argue that viewing Trump’s returns could allow the public to learn more about any ties to Russia and to find out how Trump might personally benefit from any tax-reform legislation.

“It’s important for us to have the returns on tax reform, it’s important to have it on the Russia investigation,” Doggett said.

But Republican lawmakers haven't offered much support for the efforts, even though some GOP lawmakers think Trump should release his tax returns. Several House Republicans have said that Trump should voluntarily disclose his returns but that Congress shouldn’t force their disclosure.

Trump has cited an IRS audit as the reason why he has not released his returns, breaking with decades of precedent, though the IRS has said an audit does not prevent the release of personal tax information. Lawyers for Trump said that the president’s last 10 years of tax returns don’t show income from Russian sources, except in a few circumstances.