The measure was introduced by Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Under a 1924 law, the Ways and Means Committee is empowered to examine tax returns. The committee could then decide to release them to the full Congress, effectively making them public.
Pascrell first brought his request to the Chairman of the Way and Mean Committee, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX). Brady rejected the request, citing concern for Trump’s “civil liberties.”
“The American people have the right to know whether or not their president is operating under conflicts of interest related to international affairs, tax reform, government contracts or otherwise,” Pascrell said.
Republicans in the House disagreed, virtually unanimously. Nearly every Republican voted to kill Pascrell’s resolution and keep Trump’s tax returns secret. No Republicans voted to require Trump to hand over his tax returns. (Two Republicans, including Mark Sanford of South Carolina, voted “present.”)
185 Democrats voted in favor of Pascrell’s efforts.