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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Dems look for traction following Barr-Mueller findings Democrats face dilemma after Mueller probe ends Raskin embraces role as constitutional scholar 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

Progressive Caucus co-chairs Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalLawmakers clash over whether conclusion of Mueller investigation signals no collusion Judiciary Dem: House investigations must 'start at the beginning' before discussing impeachment Dem support grows for allowing public funds to pay for abortions MORE (D-Wash.) and Mark PocanMark William PocanTwo lawmakers just debated the merits of Nickelback on the House floor On The Money: Mnuchin urges Congress to raise debt limit 'as soon as possible' | NY officials subpoena Trump Org's longtime insurer | Dems offer bill to tax financial transactions Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez back 'end the forever war' pledge 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 SarbanesAmerica has a democracy problem House passes sweeping electoral reform bill This week: House Democrats poised to pass sweeping election reform bill 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 TrumpPapadopoulos claims he was pressured to sign plea deal Tlaib asking colleagues to support impeachment investigation resolution Trump rips 'Mainstream Media': 'They truly are the Enemy of the People' 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 NealKey Democrat cites new urgency to get Trump's tax returns House committee chairs call for Mueller report to be released by April 2 House Oversight Dem wants Trump to release taxes and 'get it over with' MORE (D-Mass.) has said he will request the returns, but plans to do so in a methodical manner.