On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he views the House Ways and Means Committee's ability to seek Trump's tax returns as "political". Trump is being squeezed by Mueller's probe, by federal prosecutors in NY looking into his inaugural spending, and by other House probes into possible ties with Russians during the campaign.
There is a mechanism, known as the "committee access" provision, that allows the tax writing committee to request tax records of any taxpayer from the secretary of the Treasury.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Democrats won't be intimidated, but Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has suggested he might prevent the release of Trump's tax returns.
With Democrats now controlling the House and holding the legal key to seeking President Donald Trump's tax returns, Republican lawmakers are invoking privacy in defending Trump's flank. Robert Dole. During the 2016 campaign, Vice President Mike Pence released 10 years of his tax returns covering 2006-2015. "How do we protect our borders and yet do it in a way that respects our values as Americans; that we treat people humanely, particularly asylum seekers, people who are coming here?" A majority vote from the committee would be required to publicly release the returns, if obtained.
White House spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"In reality, this is all about weaponizing our tax laws to attack a political foe", Rep. Jackie Walorski of In said at the hearing by the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. If the administration balks, Democrats may end up taking the issue to court.
For the Ways and Means Committee to use its right to demand the president's tax returns would be "such an abuse of power" and it "would open up Pandora's box". The sluggish process - delayed by the five-week partial government shutdown and Neal's desire to carefully craft a legal argument - is making some anxious to move ahead.
Support by several prominent new Democratic members of the House has raised the profile of the effort to punish Israel economically for its treatment of the Palestinians, but few voters are ready to join in.
Democrats seemed to draw a firm line on spending. The reason for this is simple: Congressional Republicans do not want another shutdown, and they do not want Trump to declare a national emergency, because both options put them in a awful position.
At an oversight hearing Thursday, lawmakers examined proposals to compel presidents and presidential candidates to make years of their tax returns public. A full-blown fight over the matter could derail Neal's other priorities, such as reducing prescription drug prices, overhauling retirement plans and rolling back some of the Republican tax cuts. But after engineering a failed month-long federal government shutdown to try to force Congress into giving him $5.7 billion for it, he is running out of options.
Five witnesses are expected to testify: Joseph J. Thorndike, director of the Tax History Project, an initiative from Tax Analysts; George K. Yin, the Edwin S. Cohen Distinguished Professor of Law and Taxation at the University of Virginia School of Law; Noah Bookbinder, executive director at the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington; Steven M. Rosenthal, senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center; and Ken Kies, managing director of the Federal Policy Group. Kay Granger, R-Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee. Democrats refused to go along with his demand and said he should simply fund the government and argue about immigration later.
But like numerous Democratic presidential wannabes, newly declared candidate Cory Booker has a name recognition problem, so voters aren't giving him much of a chance in going all the way. Kelly asked. "What about the tax returns of the speaker?"
"What they said over again was technology", Durbin said. "If the optics on this devolve into this being red meat for the hardcore left, then this could blow back on the party".