House Democrats take first step to access Trump tax returns

Trump back to combative self after appeal for compromise

House Democrats take 1st step to obtain Trump's tax returns

The top Democrat working on a border-security deal to avoid another government shutdown said lawmakers should be able to reach a bipartisan agreement by the end of this week, even with President Donald Trump repeating his demand for a wall.

Richard Neal, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has said he plans to request Trump's returns using IRS code 6103, a provision that Democrats say allows the chairman of the House Ways and Means committee to request Trump's tax returns, a move separate from the legislative debate on requiring future commanders in chief to release their records. Underscoring the clout he's lost during a battle that's dominated the opening weeks of divided government, the amount seems sure to fall much closer to $1.6 billion, a figure that was in a bipartisan Senate bill past year, they said.

"Hopefully we'll get some good news in a short period of time, and certainly in time" to meet the February 15 deadline, she said, expressing confidence the government would remain open.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer arrives to listen to President Donald Trump deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 5, 2019. Steyer is also spending $109,000 on additional advertisements demanding that Democrats request Trump's tax returns.

Down Pennsylvania Avenue at the Capitol, the mood among negotiators was distinctly upbeat, with participants in the talks between the Democratic- controlled House and Republican-held Senate predicting a deal could come as early as this weekend.

"I expect to meet the Friday deadline", Representative Nita Lowey of NY, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, said Wednesday. That number is far below the $5.7 billion that Trump has requested and repeatedly described as the number he wants met, but is in line with where people familiar with the talks thought an agreement may end.

Under a 1976 law, Trump can declare a national emergency if he specifies the reason to Congress.

Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., said Thursday that an accord could be "a good down payment" and added, "There are other ways to do it and I expect the president to go it alone in some fashion".

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Representatives Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania and Kevin Brady of Texas said that attempts to make Trump's tax returns public threatened the privacy of all USA taxpayers.

Praying for Trump. While the rest of the nation is praying that Democrat lawmakers will come to their senses and fund a much-needed border wall to protect Americans and legal immigrants, Pelosi claims she's praying for something else: President Trump.

Money for high-tech surveillance equipment and more personnel was also expected to be included.

No one ruled out last-minute problems, especially with Trump's penchant for head-snapping turnabouts.

Mr. Price said his amendment is part of the discussions over an omnibus spending bill to cover the seven bills Congress failed to pass on time past year. The next day, many government agencies would have to close again for lack of money, if no deal is reached. Meadows said he expects an agreement to provide an amount closer to $1.6 billion.

Failure could result in another partial government closure, following the shutdown that began last December 22, when Trump refused to sign a funding bill that did not contain the money he wanted for wall construction to fulfill an often-repeated campaign promise.

Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, told senators at a party lunch and in private conversations over the past few days that Mr. Trump had told him, "I can live with $2 billion", according to a Senate aide who witnessed one of the exchanges. Richard Shelby of Alabama told reporters after discussing the parameters of the potential pact with Trump in the Oval Office. Shelby said that if the final agreement followed the outline now under discussion, he believed Trump "would sign it".

While tax experts say that Congress has the power to obtain Trump's returns, there's an open question over whether it can then publicly release them without the president's consent. Before Christmas, both parties' leaders believed he'd support a bipartisan deal that would have prevented the recently ended shutdown, only to reverse himself under criticism from conservative pundits and lawmakers.

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