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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 TrumpBiden campaign slams Facebook after thousands of ads blocked by platform's pre-election blackout Mnuchin says he learned of Pelosi's letter to him about stimulus talks 'in the press' Harris to travel to Texas Friday after polls show tie between Trump, Biden MORE's tax returns in the new Congress.

The legislation, offered by Reps. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooHow to expand rural broadband, fast and affordably Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Lawmakers introduce legislation to boost cybersecurity of local governments, small businesses MORE (D-Calif.) and Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellDemocrats express concerns about IRS readiness for next year's filing season Obama hits trail to help Biden, protect legacy Trump's COVID-19 case draws new attention to handling of pandemic 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 NealLawmakers offer bipartisan bill to encourage retirement savings Democrats express concerns about IRS readiness for next year's filing season On The Money: Kudlow confident that Trump can 'round up' Senate GOP behind coronavirus relief deal | US deficit spikes to record .1T 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.