Democrat Suggests Trump May Benefit From Tanning Salon Provision of Republicans' Health Care Bill

Susan Jones | March 9, 2017 | 6:50am EST
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Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) speaks at the Ways and Means Committee markup of the Republicans' health care bill on Wednesday, March 9, 2017. (Screen grab from C-SPAN)

( - The Democrats' effort to get a look at President Trump's tax returns spilled into the health care debate on Wednesday.

At the House Ways and Means Committee mark-up of the Republican health care bill, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) introduced, for the second time in recent weeks, an amendment that would allow the committee to review Trump's tax returns in closed session.

Among other things, Doggett argued that Trump stands to enrich himself from some of the provisions in the Republicans’ health care bill:

Pointing to a "recent analysis by...a series of reporters," Doggett said Trump "personally stands to rake in almost $7 million from two giant tax breaks that are in this bill. And as we get the tanning salon section, we can explore whether there's one of those down in Mar-a-Lago or one of his other resorts, and he's going to benefit even from the tanning provisions here...And so I think it's important to adopt this amendment."

The Republican health care bill lifts many of the taxes imposed by Obamacare, including the tax on tanning salons.

Doggett also told the committee that Trump's tax returns "could reveal Russian entanglements."

"If there's nothing to see here, Mr. Trump, then we need to see the tax returns."

But Doggett went even further than tanning salons and Russian entanglement, suggesting that Trump would use his position as president to get special tax breaks for himself.

"What will his tax bill look like if he is now overseeing the Internal Revenue Service and eventually appoints the Internal Revenue Service commissioner? Will he make a great deal for himself and his family not available to the rest of the American people?" Doggett asked.

Republicans rejected Doggett’s amendment as not germane and "outside the narrow subject matter of this subtitle."

That prompted an angry Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) to tell the panel that Democrats eventually will "get to the center of these conflicts of interest."

Last week, Pascrell sent a letter to Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) urging them to "submit a written request to the Secretary of the Treasury by March 15, 2017, for copies of the President’s federal tax returns for the last ten years.

The letter was signed by 163 lawmakers, including two Republicans -- Reps. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.).

Although there is no law requiring Trump to release his tax returns, Democrats, including Pascrell, say he should do what most other modern presidents have done.

"You know, Mr. Chairman, I told you this could easy, or this could be difficult, but we are not going to stop. Every ounce of energy in my body is going to be working on this," Pascrell promised.

As has reported, Democrats also are demanding the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russian operatives. A special prosecutor would be able to subpoena Trump's tax returns, where Democrats apparently expect to find information they could use to either end Trump's presidency or render it ineffective.

Also See:

Franken Calls for Special Prosecutor: 'Need to See' Trump's Tax Returns

Sen. Al Franken Repeats: 'We Need to See His Tax Returns'

Sen. Collins: ‘Too Soon to Tell’ If Intel Committee Will Subpoena Trump’s Tax Returns

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