Congressman threatens to hold up tax reform until Trump releases his returns

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee, introduced a “privileged resolution” Tuesday that would require the House to immediately request President Trump’s tax returns and those of his businesses.

The resolution, which would need to be considered within two legislative days, would also postpone consideration of any tax reform legislation until Trump’s tax returns are handed over.

Doggett’s office noted that the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee has the authority to obtain the President’s tax returns under section 6103 of the Tax Code. The resolution has little chance of being approved in the Republican-controlled Congress, but if it were approved, it would start the process of reviewing Trump's tax returns in an executive session of the Ways and Means Committee, which could vote to release the returns to the public.

However, the Republican majority in Congress and the Trump administration have to date resisted efforts to force the release of Trump’s tax returns. Trump’s refusal to release his returns became a major issue during last year’s presidential campaign, and has remained an issue after he took office during the investigation into Russian interference with the election. Trump reportedly filed for an extension this tax season on his 2016 taxes (see Trump filed for extension on 2016 tax returns).

Doggett has previously filed three different amendments in the Ways and Means Committee to get hold of Trump’s tax returns, on February 14, March 8, and March 28. The committee voted all three times along party lines to reject Doggett’s attempts to procure Trump’s tax returns, and the House has refused nine times to act on the matter, he noted.

Donald Trump speaks at CPAC
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., on Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. It's Trump's party now, but activists at a gathering of conservatives outside Washington this week are still struggling over whether to fully embrace the president's vision for what it means to be a Republican. Photographer: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg

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