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 TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE's tax returns in the new Congress.

The legislation, offered by Reps. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooHouse Democrats press leaders to start Trump impeachment Hillicon Valley: Court rejects Chelsea Manning appeal | Facebook hires lawyer who helped write Patriot Act | Senator seeks details on Russian interference in Florida | Amazon hiring alcohol lobbyist | Ex-Obama aide lobbying for Sprint, T-Mobile merger Former Obama aide lobbying for T-Mobile-Sprint merger MORE (D-Calif.) and Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellOn The Money: Judge rules banks can give Trump records to House | Mnuchin pegs debt ceiling deadline as 'late summer' | Democrats see momentum in Trump tax return fight | House rebukes Trump changes to consumer agency Pelosi employs committee chairs to tamp down calls for Trump impeachment Democrats sense new momentum in Trump tax return fight 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 NealRepublicans attempt to amend retirement savings bill to include anti-BDS language House votes to boost retirement savings Steyer plans impeachment push targeting Democrats over recess 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.