WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) today delivered the following opening statement at a full Committee markup of H.Res. 479.
Remarks as delivered:
“Today, our Committee will consider a resolution of inquiry offered by Mr. Pascrell that is related to President Trump’s confidential tax and financial information.
“To be frank, this measure by Mr. Pascrell is a procedural tool being utilized – and I believe abused – for obvious political purposes. As I said back in March when he offered a very similar resolution, it does absolutely nothing to solve real challenges facing people, families, and job creators in our communities.
“With this resolution, the minority is seeking to have the Treasury Department collect 10 years of President Trump’s individual tax returns and then turn that information over to Congress. In addition, it calls for the mass collection of similar information from over 500 business entities.
“To my knowledge, no single individual has ever been targeted by this Committee in such a manner. In fact, the scope of this request is nearly unprecedented in the history of our Committee.
“On a select few occasions, Ways and Means has sought tax return information as part of our responsibility to oversee the administration of our nation’s tax code. But never has our Committee used its authority to single out and rummage through the confidential taxpayer information of one person without their consent – not to mention over 500 business entities. And, to top it all off, there is no mechanism through which the Treasury Secretary could legally comply with the request as written.
“Beyond the obvious shortcomings of this request and its clear political nature, this resolution would be a blatant invasion of privacy. I hope every member of our Committee – no matter what side of the dais you sit on – recognizes the dangerous precedent that would be set here.
“If this power can be abused to single out President Trump for political purposes, what prevents Congress from doing the same to other Americans and abusing the rights of other hardworking families?
“Civil liberties and privacy are rights that demand the utmost protection – and I intend to protect them.
“I will oppose this resolution, and I urge all Members of our Committee to do the same.”