Liberal groups pressure Dems over Trump’s tax returns

By Sylvan Lane

Progressive organizations said Tuesday that they are ramping up pressure on House Democrats to immediately request President Trump’s tax returns from the Treasury Department, after some lawmakers suggested that the request would likely be made soon.

Tax March and Stand Up America said that they are hosting a “national day of action” for Tuesday, when constituents will urge Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee to publicly demand that the panel’s chairman, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), immediately ask for Trump’s tax returns.

“Chairman Neal has run out of excuses. He’s had over two years of the Trump presidency to prepare for this moment, and his inaction on Trump’s tax returns is a disservice to the American people,” said Stand Up America President Sean Eldridge said in a statement. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda tells us more about the battle here.

  • Tuesday’s call-in to Democratic lawmakers comes two weeks after Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), a senior Ways and Means Committee member, predicted that Neal would send the request to Treasury within a couple of weeks. Pascrell said at the time that the timeline was his personal prediction.
  • Neal has said that he plans to request Trump’s tax filings. But he says he wants to move methodically on the issue because he thinks the matter is likely to result in a lengthy court case. He has said that he will make the request “when the case is ready.”



Top Trump economist: Tax cuts powering economy despite global slowdown: The top White House economist on Tuesday said President Trump’s efforts to cut taxes and regulations will help power the U.S. economy through a broader global slowdown.

Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), told reporters Tuesday that the 2017 tax-cut bill had created “a fundamental shift” in the economy that would bring years of strong growth and job gains.

“There’s ample room for optimism,” Hassett said during a Tuesday conference call to discuss the CEA’s 2019 economic report to the president.

“We’re pretty confident that the momentum that we’re carrying into this year will continue.” I explain why Hassett is so optimistic here.

The background:

  • U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2.9 percent in 2018 and 3.1 percent between the fourth quarters of 2018 and 2017. The annualized level was just short of Trump’s 3 percent goal but several notches higher than most public and private sector projections.
  • The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Federal Reserve and a slew of private sector economists had projected GDP to rise closer to 2.5 to 2.7 percent.

The debate:

Critics of the Trump administration and the tax bill instead credit policies enacted by former President Obama for the strong economy, likening the tax bill to little more than a sugar rush.

Hassett attributed the increase to higher levels of business spending, infrastructure investment and purchases of capital equipment, which he said would boost the U.S. economy even as Europe and China appear close to recessions.

“We actually cut taxes to encourage people to build new factories.  And we had new factories last year,” Hassett said. “We’re going to get more new factories this year, but we’re also going to get the output from the factories we built last year as they turn them on.”

The numbers:

  • Business investment in machines, tools and other productivity-boosting equipment reached $300 billion in 2018, $26.4 billion more than the pre-2017 trend, according to CEA.
  • The U.S. added 215,000 machine manufacturing jobs in 2018, which CEA said was 301,000 more jobs than the pre-2017 trend. The CEA also cited higher levels of commercial and industrial loans held by banks since Trump signed a bipartisan bill to loosen post-crisis lending restrictions, capital requirements and other stability mandates.


Watchdog warns ‘rosy economic assumptions’ permeate Trump’s budget proposal: President Trump’s 2020 spending proposal used overly optimistic economic projections that would have resulted in a balanced budget after 25 years without any of the cuts to non-defense programs put forth by the administration, according to a new analysis.

The White House budget request for fiscal year 2020 calls for deep cuts to non-defense spending, as well as massive reductions to entitlement programs like Medicare, citing the need to lower the deficit. The approach would balance the budget after 15 years, instead of the 10-year frame typically used in federal budgeting, the White House estimated.

But an analysis published Tuesday by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a group that advocates for deficit reduction, found that the budget would be balanced after 25 years, even if the 2017 GOP tax-cut law were extended, based solely on the administration’s high-growth estimates.

“Rosy economic assumptions – not serious spending cuts – deserve most of the credit,” the analysis found.

The Hill’s Niv Elis explains why.

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