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 PelosiOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — California monitoring 8,400 people for coronavirus | Pence taps career official to coordinate response | Dems insist on guardrails for funding Overnight Energy: Murkowski, Manchin unveil major energy bill | Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency's budget | GOP lawmaker accuses Trump officials of 'playing politics' over Yucca Mountain Hillicon Valley — Presented by Facebook — Federal court rules tech giants can censor content | Trump upends surveillance fight | Senate passes bill barring federal funds for Huawei equipment 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 JayapalCentrist Democrats insist Sanders would need delegate majority to win Democrats cancel surveillance vote over pushback to amendments 22 studies agree: 'Medicare for All' saves money MORE (D-Wash.) and Mark PocanMark William PocanDemocrats spar with DeVos at hearing, say Trump budget would 'privatize education' Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump names Pence to lead coronavirus response 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 SarbanesAn inclusive democracy Demands DC statehood Hillicon Valley: Facebook suspends misinformation networks targeting US | Lawmakers grill census officials on cybersecurity | Trump signs order to protect GPS | Dem senators propose federal facial recognition moratorium Lawmakers grill Census Bureau officials after report on cybersecurity issues 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 TrumpThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Congress eyes billion to billion to combat coronavirus Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary 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 NealWyden, Mnuchin clash over Trump tax returns, Hunter Biden probe Overnight Health Care: House panel advances legislation on surprise medical bills | Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Trump abortion coverage rule | CDC identifies 13th US patient with coronavirus White House warns of raising health costs in debate over surprise medical bills MORE (D-Mass.) has said he will request the returns, but plans to do so in a methodical manner.