Five House Republicans joined Democrats in voting for a bill on Thursday that would require yearly audits of the sitting president’s tax returns, which was brought up in the chamber after a congressional committee found that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not examine former President Trump’s returns for two years of his tenure in the White House.
The House approved the measuretitled the Presidential Tax Filings and Audit Transparency Act, in a 222-201 vote. The legislation calls for codifying current IRS policy, which mandates that presidents are audited every year they serve in the White House.
The current regulations are laid out in the agency’s regulatory manual and not federal law. The legislation would codify the tenets.
Republican Reps. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Fred Upton (Mich.), Liz Cheney (Wyo.), John Katko (N.Y.) and Tom Rice (S.C.) joined all voting Democrats in supporting the measure.
None of the Republicans are returning to Congress next year after losing reelection bids or opting against vying for another term.
Upton said Trump’s failure to release his tax returns throughout his presidency motivated him to vote for the bill.
“What drove me was, I remember his statement in 2016 when he said, I’m paraphrasing, when he said that if he were the nominee he was gonna release his taxes,” Upton told The Hill.
“So its been six years. And I understand that the IRS probably dropped the ball, from what I read this morning, but he said he’d do it. So, the jigs up,” he added.
The Michigan Republican said a mechanism should be in place to require the presidential tax audits.
Trump for years said he was unable to release his taxes because they were under routine audit, vowing to disclose the documentation once the examination was over. The information, however, was never made public.
The House Ways and Means Committee voted Tuesday to release its investigation of the IRS’s mandatory audit program run under the Trump administration, which revealed that the agency did not audit the then-president’s tax returns in 2017 or 2018.
The agency only selected Trump for an audit on April 3, 2019, which was the same day Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), the chair of the Ways and Means Committee, asked the then-IRS commissioner for Trump’s tax returns.
The panel is also slated to release six years of Trump’s tax returns following Tuesday vote. Those documents, however, are currently being redacted and have not yet been published.