Progressives want Dem bill to require presidents release business tax returns

Progressives want Dem bill to require presidents release business tax returns
© Greg Nash

Leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) are circulating a letter that urges Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats claim victory as Trump gets battered in court GOP rep criticizes Trump for tweeting Pelosi video America has no time to wait for impeachment MORE (D-Calif.) to update House Democrats' good-government bill to include a requirement that presidents release tax business tax returns, in addition to their personal tax filings.

As currently written, the bill known as H.R. 1 would require presidents and vice presidents and major-party nominees for those jobs to provide the Federal Election Commission (FEC) with the previous 10 years of their individual income tax returns. The FEC would then be required to make the returns publicly available.

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Progressive Caucus co-chairs Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalPelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Immigration bills move forward amid political upheaval House Democrat: Seattle airport's ban on ICE detainee flights helps 'hold a lawless administration accountable' MORE (D-Wash.) and Mark PocanMark William PocanTrump-Pelosi fight threatens drug pricing talks Democrats seize on IRS memo in Trump tax battle The Memo: Trump allies see impeachment push backfiring on Democrats MORE (D-Wis.) said they are taking the lead on a letter asking Pelosi to ensure the bill requires office holders and nominees to disclose their business tax returns.

"We're very supportive of H.R. 1 but there's a few places where it needs to be strengthened," Jayapal said Tuesday, adding that the CPC has been talking to House Democratic leadership and H.R. 1 lead sponsor Rep. John SarbanesJohn Peter Spyros SarbanesPelosi: Trump 'is engaged in a cover-up' Hillicon Valley: Instagram cracks down on anti-vaccine tags | Facebook co-founder on fallout from call to break up company | House Dems reintroduce election security bill | Lawmakers offer bill requiring cyber, IT training for House House Dems reintroduce bill to protect elections from cyberattacks MORE (D-Md.) about updating the tax-returns section.

H.R. 1 was introduced this month during the first week of the new Congress and includes an array of provisions aimed at making it easier for people to vote, curbing the influence of money in politics and strengthening ethics laws. House Democrats started holding hearings on the legislation on Tuesday.

The bill is expected to pass the House but is not expected to be taken up in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Pocan said that the CPC wants the business tax returns provision because "it's such an important bill to the caucus."

Democrats are interested in requiring presidential disclosure of tax returns in light of the fact that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats claim victory as Trump gets battered in court Juan Williams: Anti-abortion extremism is on the rise Trump feels squeeze in tax return fight MORE has broken with decades of tradition and not made his tax documents public.

Trump has said he won't release his tax returns while he's under audit, though the IRS has said that nothing prevents an individual from making their own tax information public.

In addition to offering legislation to require presidential tax-return disclosure, House Democrats are planning to try to obtain Trump's tax returns from the Treasury Department.

A provision in the federal tax code allows the chair of congressional tax committees to request tax returns from the Treasury Department and review them in a closed session. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealTrump feels squeeze in tax return fight Republicans attempt to amend retirement savings bill to include anti-BDS language House votes to boost retirement savings MORE (D-Mass.) has said he will request the returns, but plans to do so in a methodical manner.