On The Money: Justice Department says Trump’s tax returns should be released | Democrats fall short of votes for extending eviction ban
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THE BIG DEAL—Justice Department says Trump’s tax returns should be released: The Justice Department on Friday said the Treasury Department must turn over former President Trump’s long-sought tax returns to the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee.
In a memo from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), acting Assistant Attorney General Dawn Johnsen said the Treasury Department was required to defer to the congressional committee.
“The statute at issue here is unambiguous: ‘Upon written request’ of the chairman of one of the three congressional tax committees, the Secretary ‘shall furnish’ the requested tax information to the Committee,” Johnsen wrote in the 39-page memo.
What happens next:
- If the committee receives Trump’s tax returns, it can examine the documents in a closed session.
- It could then vote to release a report to the full House, making some or all of the documents public.
“As I have maintained for years, the Committee’s case is very strong and the law is on our side,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said in a statement. “I am glad that the Department of Justice agrees and that we can move forward.”
The Hill’s Rebecca Beitsch and Naomi Jagoda have more here.
The background: Neal first requested Trump’s personal and business tax returns, and related IRS documents, in 2019. He also subpoenaed former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnunchin and the head of the IRS to secure their release. The Trump administration refused to comply with the request and subpoenas, prompting the committee to file a lawsuit.
LEADING THE DAY
Democrats fall short of votes for extending eviction ban: House Democratic leaders failed to round up enough votes Friday to pass legislation extending the federal ban on evictions just two days before it is set to expire.
Two Democratic lawmakers said that a possible House floor vote on Friday would ultimately be scrapped after leadership struggled all day to round up enough support.
“We don’t have the votes,” a Democratic aide said. But when Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was asked if she had pulled the bill, she said, “No.”
The Hill’s Mike Lillis has more here.
The background: Democratic leaders spent Friday scrambling to tee up a vote on a bill that would extend the federal eviction ban through the end of the year with just two days before it expires.
- Democrats were caught by surprise the day before when President Biden urged Congress to extend the eviction ban, insisting that his administration no longer has the authority to unilaterally extend the moratorium due to a Supreme Court ruling last month.
- The Rules Committee considered the topic on Friday morning, debating a proposal sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), head of the Financial Services Committee, which initially would have extended the moratorium through the end of the year.
- Democratic leaders decided to shrink the window of the benefit to expire on Oct. 18, but it did not appear to win the support of the centrist holdouts.
As leaders struggled to find enough party support to extend an eviction moratorium, Pelosi called on the Biden administration to act unilaterally to help the nation’s most vulnerable renters.
“I think this is something that we’ll work out. It isn’t about any more money — the money is there, resting in localities and governors’ offices across the country,” Pelosi said Friday morning during a press briefing in the Capitol. “So we’d like the CDC to expand the moratorium. That’s where it can be done.”
Senate starts infrastructure debate amid 11th-hour drama: The Senate voted on Friday to formally start debating a bipartisan infrastructure proposal after a last-minute snag briefly threw the chamber into chaos.
Senators voted 66-28 to start debate, using a shell bill that they intend to swap the bipartisan group’s legislation into once it is finished. Sixteen GOP senators voted to start debate.
The drama: The vote had been expected to start around 11:30 a.m., but it was delayed for roughly an hour after a draft version of the bill floated around Capitol Hill and K Street sparked fierce GOP pushback.
- Republicans and aides in both parties warned that the draft legislation in circulation didn’t reflect the bipartisan group’s agreement.
- But it still sparked worries from Republicans that Democrats were trying to jam them with an alternative version of the bill spearheaded by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).
The backlash over the draft led Portman and Sinema to release a formal statement saying that the draft legislation, which was shared with reporters, wasn’t their bill.
“While various pieces of legislative text have been circulating among members, staff and the public for days, if not weeks, none of it is the final legislative text and should not be considered as such,” they said.
The Hill’s Jordain Carney has more here.
GOOD TO KNOW
- A coalition of congressional Democrats is pressuring the CEOs of four social media companies to combat the spread of Spanish and other non-English language disinformation on their platforms.
- European regulators fined Amazon 746 million euros, roughly $886 million, over data breach violations, the company disclosed in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
- Publix on Friday said that it will require all employees, regardless of coronavirus vaccination status, to wear masks at work, citing updated federal recommendations this week amid a surge in the highly transmissible delta variant.
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