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 PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal 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 JayapalHillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills Dozens of lawmakers call for government surveillance reforms Jayapal hits back at Biden on marijuana 'prohibition' MORE (D-Wash.) and Mark PocanMark William PocanGOP senator rips into Pelosi at Trump rally: 'It must suck to be that dumb' House progressives to push for floor amendments on Pelosi drug price bill How Trump and Pelosi went from bad to worse 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 SarbanesHouse to vote this month on legislation to combat foreign interference in elections Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to testify on Libra | Extremists find home on Telegram app | Warren blasts Facebook for not removing anti-Biden ad | California outlaws facial recognition in police body cameras | China rips US tech sanctions House Democrats introduce new legislation to combat foreign election interference 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 TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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 tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny On The Money: House passes monthlong stopgap | Broader spending talks stall | Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns | Progressives ramp up attacks on private equity Overnight Energy: Mark Ruffalo pushes Congress on 'forever chemicals' | Lawmakers spar over actor's testimony | House Dems unveil renewable energy tax plan | Funding for conservation program passes Senate hurdle MORE (D-Mass.) has said he will request the returns, but plans to do so in a methodical manner.