March 15, 2017: Trump's Taxes, TrumpCare, REINS Act, Neil Gorsuch
- Last night, Rachel Maddow released Trump's 2005 tax return on her show.
- The House Budget Committee meets tomorrow to mark up the TrumpCare bill.
- The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee meets to consider several bills today, including the REINS Act
- Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee begins on Monday.
Trump's 2005 Tax Return:
Last night, Rachel Maddow released 2 pages of leaked forms from Trump's 2005 taxes, which had been anonymously sent to reporter David Cay Johnston. The two pages did not provide any clarification on possible business ties to foreign companies or governments, though it was notable that about $31 million of the $38 million Trump paid in taxes that year was due to the alternative minimum tax, which Trump wants to abolish.
In the House, Rep. Bill Pascrell's resolution of inquiry, H. Res. 186, is awaiting a vote in the Ways & Means Committee. This resolution would direct the Treasury Department to release Trump's taxes and other financial information. If the Ways & Means Committee does not vote on the resolution within 14 legislative days of its release, it can be brought to the House floor.
- 2005 Donald Trump tax return (2 pages)
- Trump Wrote Off $100 Million in Losses in 2005, Leaked Forms Show (NYT)
- H. Res. 186 bill information
The House Budget Committee meets tomorrow, March 16, at 10:00 AM EDT to merge the two versions of the TrumpCare bill approved by the House Ways & Means Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Though the Budget Committee cannot make substantive changes to the bill in its own markup session, it can recommend amendments to the Rules Committee, which is expected to take up the bill next week.
As noted in a New York Times article today, the bill continues to have significant pushback from both conservative and moderate Republicans in both houses of Congress.
The following Republican members of the House Budget Committee have expressed concern about or opposition to the bill:
- Dave Brat (VA-7): (202) 225-2815
- John Faso (NY-19): (202) 225-5614
- Tom McClintock (CA-4): (202) 225-2511
- Mark Sanford (SC-1): (202) 225-3176
- House Budget Committee markup session (includes live stream)
- House Budget Committee membership
- G.O.P. Senators Suggest Changes for Health Care Bill Offered by House (NYT)
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is meeting today to consider several bills, including the REINS Act (S. 21/HR. 26). As noted in the March 13 update, the REINS Act would limit federal agencies' ability to effectively implement necessary protections by requiring Congressional approval for all new protections.
- Senate HSGAC Business Meeting (includes agenda)
- Senate HSGAC membership
- Bill information (Senate version)
- Bill information (House version)
- The Most Dangerous Bill You've Never Heard Of Just Passed The House (Huffington Post)
The confirmation hearing for Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court is set for next week, Monday, March 20, at 11:00 AM EDT. Yesterday, Senator Dianne Feinstein (Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee) sent a letter to Gorsuch, noting that he had not yet provided full responses to his confirmation questions, and calling on him to provide additional documents. Feinstein noted in her letter, "Documents produced by the Justice Department demonstrate you had a leading role in litigation and strategy over executive power and national security matters that have not yet been identified to the Committee."
Additionally, the New York Times reported yesterday on significant ties between Gorsuch and a prominent Colorado billionaire, which lends further support to Democratic arguments that Gorsuch would favor big business interests and the wealthy in his Supreme Court decisions.
- Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing (includes live stream link)
- Senate Judiciary Committee membership
- Feinstein: Gorsuch Documents Incomplete (Feinstein press release)
- Neil Gorsuch Has Web of Ties to Secretive Billionaire (NYT)
Conclusion/Call Script Overview
Today I will be calling both of my senators and asking them again to oppose the REINS Act. I'll also ask them to oppose Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court. Finally, I'll reiterate my call for them to add as much pressure as possible in opposition to the Muslim ban.
I'll also call my Congressman and ask him again to co-sponsor H. Res. 186, to continue the push to get the President's taxes released, and to investigate his ties to Russia.
If you have not yet called your representatives regarding TrumpCare, I urge you to read yesterday's update and then call.
If you are not from California, you can find contact information for all U.S. Senators here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
If you don't know who your Representative in the House, you can look it up here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Script for Calling Dianne Feinstein
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling because I saw that the Senate is starting to consider the REINS Act, S. 21, in committee, and I wanted to ask Senator Feinstein to please oppose that bill. I believe that it would be extremely harmful in how it limits agencies' ability to effectively protect workers, consumers, and the environment. I also saw Senator Feinstein's letter requesting more information from Neil Gorsuch. I am glad to see the Senator doing her due diligence, and I hope that she will oppose Gorsuch's nomination in the Judiciary Committee. Finally, I wanted to ask that the Senator continue to push to get the Muslim ban overturned, adding as much pressure as possible by objecting to all calls for unanimous consent until the ban is repealed. Thank you."
Script for Calling Kamala Harris
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling because I saw that the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is considering the REINS Act, S. 21, today, and I wanted to ask Senator Harris to please oppose that bill. I believe that it would be extremely harmful in how it limits agencies' ability to effectively protect workers, consumers, and the environment. I also know that the hearings for Neil Gorsuch's confirmation are starting next week, and I think it's very important that the Senator please oppose his nomination, as his record on women's rights and his long support of big corporations at the expense of everyday Americans is concerning. Finally, I wanted to ask that the Senator continue to push to get the Muslim ban overturned, adding as much pressure as possible by objecting to all calls for unanimous consent until the ban is repealed. Thank you."
Script for Calling Scott Peters
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling because I saw that one of the President's tax returns was released yesterday, and I think it's very important to get the rest of his taxes released as well as the rest of the information on his potential conflicts of interest. So I'd like to ask Congressman Peters to please co-sponsor H. Res. 186, in order to get that information. We need to know whether or not our President is beholden to foreign businesses or governments, and whether he is using his office to enrich himself. Thank you."