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. 186.
Remarks as delivered:
“Good afternoon. 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.
“I’m going to keep my remarks short today because, frankly, this resolution is a procedural tool being utilized – and I think abused – for obvious political purposes.
“It does absolutely nothing to promote a substantive policy discussion on the real-life challenges facing the people, families, and job creators we were sent here to serve.
“With this resolution, the minority is seeking to have the Treasury Department collect 10 years of President Trump’s individual tax returns along with a potentially extensive amount of other confidential financial information, and then turn that information over to Congress.
“To my knowledge, in our Committee’s entire history, no single individual has ever been targeted in such a manner.
“Let me say that again: while this Committee has – at times – sought tax return information as part of our legislative responsibility to oversee the administration of our nation’s tax code, this would be the first time the Committee has exercised authority to wade into the federal tax returns of a single individual with no tie to any investigation within our jurisdiction.
“Furthermore, there is no mechanism through which the Treasury Secretary could legally comply with this request as written.
“As I’m sure the sponsor of this resolution is aware, section 6103 permits confidential tax information to be furnished only to the Committee – not to the House of Representatives, as the resolution directs.
“But, beyond its obvious legal shortcomings, supporting this resolution would be a clear invasion of privacy.
“I would ask all of our Committee Members to take a step back for a moment and consider the dangerous precedent of abuse that would be set by this resolution.
“If Congress chooses to use this power to single out President Trump for political purposes, invade his privacy, and seize his confidential tax information, what prevents Congress from doing the same to other Americans?
“Civil liberties and privacy are still rights worth protecting and I intend to protect them. I will oppose this resolution, and I urge all Members of our Committee to do the same.
“With that, I’ll yield to Ranking Member Neal for any opening statement he may have.”