Top Democrat Expects Border Deal, But Trump Remains the Wild Card

Top Democrat Expects Border Deal, But Trump Remains the Wild Card

After Trump boldly advised Congress not to pursue "ridiculous partisan investigations" during his State of the Union address Tuesday, Rep. Bill Pascrell, a senior member of the Ways and Means committee, stressed that the USA has a "checks and balances government". Trump is speaking at his first campaign rally of the year Monday night in El Paso, Texas, leading to concerns from some congressional aides that he could veer back to rhetoric on the wall that could throw any deal they reach into question.

Democrats are pushing for the package of spending bills Congress is writing to include language that would block the Trump administration from tightening the bar on those seeking asylum.

"The president was urging me to try to conclude these negotiations and this is the most positive meeting I've had in a long time", lead GOP bargainer Sen.

"We're on the verge of a government shutdown again because Democrats won't come to the table to have a conversation about securing the country", White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said on Friday to reporters. Trump, unlike some of his predecessors, hasn't divested from his real estate and licensing business since becoming president.

Although Trump warned Congress in his State of the Union on Tuesday that "there can not be war and investigation" if lawmakers want "peace and legislation", House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said Wednesday that Democrats are not intimidated.

Since the early 1970s, most presidents have chosen to release their tax returns to the public for the years they serve in office and only while they hold office, which they are not required to do under the law. Trump is being squeezed by Mueller's probe, by federal prosecutors in NY looking into his inaugural spending, and by other House probes into possible ties with Russians during the campaign. The panel can ask the Treasury to turn over the records of any taxpayer, but the Cabinet-level department could delay or reject the request. He maintained that part of that oversight is releasing tax returns that show whether the president is in compliance with tax laws.

Maybe worry about what's in the interest of the American people for a change?

Brady-who is the ranking member of the committee itself-and Kelly accused Democrats of hunting Trump's tax returns as an attempt to play "partisan "gotcha" politics in the letter".

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But with no law requiring presidents to release their returns, Democrats face a possible backlash from the public for overreaching.

"Weaponizing the tax code for political purposes sets a unsafe precedent", Brady, R-Texas, told reporters on Wednesday. Democrats are trying to limit the Trump administration's ability to detain border crossers, preferring alternatives such as ankle bracelets. (Glimpses into leaked tax information obtained by the New York Times showed Trump claimed operating losses of $916 million in 1995, which would have protected him for up to 18 years' worth of taxes.) It's by no means certain that Trump's personal returns would answer any of those questions. The sluggish process - delayed by the five-week partial government shutdown and Neal's desire to carefully craft a legal argument - is making some anxious to move ahead. It's a subject that virtually every member of Congress has supported in the past.

"A president of the United States is in a very unique position to individually do things, as this president has displayed probably more than most", Hoyer, D-Md., said.

Democrats seemed to draw a firm line on spending.

The tax code offers an obscure way to force the issue.

The ensuing legal battle threatens to derail the rest of the Ways and Means Committee's other priorities, including prescription drug price reductions, overhauling retirement plans and rolling back portions of the GOP tax bill.

George Yin, a professor of law and taxation at University of Virginia Law School, testified to the panel that he doesn't see any "wiggle room" in the law for the Treasury secretary to refuse Neal's request for Trump's returns.

Why hasn't Trump released his tax returns? Democrats refused to go along with his demand and said he should simply fund the government and argue about immigration later.

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