House Dems offer bill to require presidents to release tax returns

A pair of House Democrats on Wednesday offered legislation to require presidents and presidential candidates to release their tax returns as Democrats are prioritizing obtaining President TrumpDonald John TrumpChelsea Clinton announces birth of third child Ukrainian officials and Giuliani are sharing back-channel campaign information: report Trump attacks 'the Squad' as 'racist group of troublemakers' MORE's tax returns in the new Congress.

The legislation, offered by Reps. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Planned Parenthood ousts its president | Harris releases drug pricing plan | House Dem drug plan delayed until after recess Democratic chair: Medicare negotiating drug prices not moving before August House bill targets use of Pentagon networks for child pornography MORE (D-Calif.) and Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellTwo Democrats vow to press forward on Trump impeachment Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment How Trump suddenly brought Democrats together on a resolution condemning him MORE (D-N.J.), would require sitting presidents and vice presidents, and major-party nominees for those offices, to make public their 10 most recent federal income tax returns. The bill is aimed at Trump, the first president in decades not to release his tax returns.

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“Being able to scrutinize the tax returns of a man or woman seeking to occupy the most powerful position on earth is a low bar, and one that candidates long abided by until 2016," Pascrell said in a news release. "Americans have a right to know if their President is a crook. Imposing this requirement will ensure that transparency and ethical behavior are minimum requirements for any presidential candidate.”

The provisions in Pascrell and Eshoo's bill are also included in a wide-ranging ethics bill House Democrats introduced last week known as H.R. 1. Democrats are expected to hold hearings on that bill in the coming weeks before bringing it to a vote on the House floor.

Eshoo and Pascrell have both been pushing for congressional action on Trump's tax returns since the 2016 presidential race, when Eshoo released her first piece of legislation on the matter.

Pascrell has been a leader of Democrats' efforts to have Congress request Trump's tax returns from the Treasury Department — an action that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealProgressive mayor launches primary challenge to top Ways and Means Democrat Democrat: Treasury 'acknowledged the unprecedented process' in Trump tax return rejection House votes to repeal ObamaCare's 'Cadillac tax' MORE (D-Mass.) is expected to take later this year.

“Tax returns contain vital information for voters and the public, including whether an individual has paid any taxes; whether they made charitable donations; and whether they took advantage of tax loopholes or offshore tax shelters," Eshoo said.

Trump has said that he won't release his tax returns while he is under audit. But the IRS has said audits don't prevent people from disclosing their own tax information.