Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

House Democrats Divided On Strategy To Force Release Of Trump's Tax Returns

House Democrats Divided On Strategy To Force Release Of Trump's Tax Returns

The hearing came two days after Trump faced a divided Congress in his State of the Union address, imploring the Democrats to step away from "ridiculous partisan investigations".

Democrats want a lower number of beds as they try to limit how many illegal aliens ICE can detain, while Republicans want a higher number so the agency has adequate space to detain people as it processes asylum claims amid a massive backlog. Ways and Means member Ron Kind of Wisconsin, considered one of the most centrist House Democrats, said he thinks the idea could be a waste of time.

Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., chairman of the oversight subcommittee, said the American public is intensely interested in the subject.

"In reality, this is all about weaponizing our tax laws to target a political foe", said Republican Representative Jackie Walorski.

AP, while blasting President Trump for his "head-snapping turnabouts", reported that Rep.

Although Trump warned Congress in his State of the Union on Tuesday that "there can not be war and investigation" if lawmakers want "peace and legislation", House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said Wednesday that Democrats are not intimidated.

Democrats say they want to see Trump's returns to be sure he's complying with tax laws, to examine his financial connections overseas, and find out to whom he owes money. 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.

Trump broke with decades of tradition for presidential candidates by refusing to release his income tax filings during his 2016 campaign.

"They're under audit. They have been for a long time", Trump said of his returns. Things get trickier when it comes to who should be demanding those returns and how quickly they should force what is likely to be a confrontation with the administration over the issue.

Pentagon moving troops to Texas due to migrant caravan
When Trump discussed El Paso's past, he sounded like he was describing Ciudad Juarez across the border in Northern Mexico. In 2005, the city had a murder rate of 2.5 for every 100,000 residents, compared with a national rate of 5.6.

But with no law requiring presidents to release their returns, Democrats face a possible backlash from the public for overreaching. Trump took great umbrage at the announcement, lashing out at Schiff and calling him a, "political hack".

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told The New York Times that if any requests are made, he would work with the department's general counsel and the general counsel for the IRS.

Democrats formally took control of the House on January 3, and vowed to aggressively pursue oversight investigations, which may include issuing subpoenas for potentially damaging documents and advancing the Russian Federation investigation.

While Trump has been open to compromise, Democrat leader and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that she would not approve more than $1 for the wall, which she has called "immoral". "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?" The organization funded by billionaire investor and Democratic activist Tom Steyer has run a TV ad in Neal's home district calling on him to subpoena Trump's tax records, as a prelude to starting impeachment proceedings.

The Democrats tried and failed several times to obtain Trump's returns as the minority party in Congress.

The New Jersey Democrat has been pushing committee leaders for more than a year to use their authority to view private tax returns. 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 Trump has repeatedly refused requests to make his returns available, saying he is under an Inland Revenue audit.

If the committee gets the returns, it can vote to make them available to all House members, effectively making them public.

Trump wants enough bed space to house an average daily population of 52,000 migrant detainees; House Democrats want to cut that to 35,520 for the rest of the fiscal year ending September 30, phasing out family detention completely by then.

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