In an awkward move, a Republican-led congressional panel voted to keep Trump’s tax returns secret in order not to allow the U.S. Treasury to disclose the files to the U.S. House of Representatives.
The move was a response to a filing with the House Ways and Means Committee by Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ) to release the returns. On Thursday the panel’s members turned down the request for the president’s financial information.
Pascrell, who asked for the president’s business and personal financial info, noted that Congress cannot discuss a tax overhaul proposal if the president keeps his returns secret. The Democrat is concerned the billionaire may hide potential conflicts of interest, which he could try to amend by proposing certain tax policies.
The Ways and Means Committee, however, was unconvinced. On a 21 to 14 vote, with no Republican breaking ranks, it rejected the motion. It seems they must have something to hide. The New Jersey lawmaker wanted the U.S. Treasury to hand the files to Congress.
Republicans Gatekeepers of Trump’s Tax Returns
It is interesting that the committee agreed to vote on the motion. If it had decided not to, Pascrell could have asked the House to vote on his request. That would have created a lot of tensions as dozens of Republicans would’ve been forced to vote on the contentious issue.
In other words, it was easier to have 21 Republicans decide on the issue rather than summon ten times as many GOPers to do it. Regardless of the path chosen, the result would have been the same. The GOP continues to hide the president’s tax returns even when it comes to Congress.
On the White House’s ‘We the People’ website, there is a petition for the release of Trump’s tax returns that accrued 1 million signatures, but the Trump administration hasn’t issued an official response to the petition yet. The minimum mark is well met for the President to answer the petition, and yet he continues to defy the law.
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