Senate Dems want to see tax returns for Trump’s appointees — but there’s a problem

Senate Dems want to see tax returns for Trump’s appointees — but there’s a problem
Vice president-elect Mike Pence waves during a Nov. 17 meeting with Senate Minority Leader-elect Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Senate Democrats are preparing their fight against President-elect Donald Trump’s executive branch nominees, and the first front on that fight will be over tax returns. According to the Washington Examiner, Democrats plan to demand at least three years of tax returns from Trump’s nominees before they will consider a yes vote.

There’s only one problem: Unless Republicans agree, Democrats have absolutely no power to demand this information.

Under current rules, most Senate committees do not have the authority to even ask for tax returns from nominees, meaning Democrats already face an uphill battle in obtaining them. So three Democratic senators have a plan to make a change, according to the Examiner’s report:

Sens. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Patty Murray of Washington and Ron Wyden of Oregon will hold a press conference at noon to press for a Senate rules change requiring all Cabinet nominees to submit three years of their tax returns to the panel charged with reviewing their qualifications for the top Trump administration posts.

As the minority party in the Senate, Democrats could have threatened to filibuster any Cabinet nominee who refused to release their tax records per their demands — but Democrats used the “nuclear option” on filibusters for executive branch appointments in 2013, so unless any Republicans join in their efforts to block a nominee, they will be unable to enforce their demands.

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