When “shall” means “not any time soon.” To the surprise of no one, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin refused to comply with House Ways & Means Committee chair Richard Neal’s request for the past six years of President Trump’s tax returns by Neal’s deadline of yesterday. Mnuchin claimed the request was partisan, though the law appears to make no exceptions. He also said it raised Constitutional issues and said he’d consult with Justice Department lawyers before responding further to the request. The President repeated his claim that he will not release his returns while he is under audit, a view that is contrary to the position taken by every president for the past four decades.
But other presidential candidates are releasing their returns. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren released her 2018 tax returns yesterday, adding to ten years of tax returns she already disclosed. Rival and Senator Bernie Sanders plans to release ten years of his tax returns in the coming days. Both senators would raise taxes on the highest income households. Both seem to fall in that category.
Senate Democrats want to boost the Earned Income Tax Credit. Senior Senate Democrats signed on to Sen. Sherrod Brown’s Working Families Tax Relief Act that would boost the credit for low-income households. It would raise the credit for households without children from a maximum of $530 to $2,070. Families with children would get roughly 25 percent more than today. Families with very young children could claim an additional credit of up to $3,000. Households could receive a one-time, interest-free advance of up to $500. The GOP-controlled Senate won’t pass, or even consider, the bill. But Democrats are using it to send a message that they want to cut taxes on low- and moderate-income households.
The federal deficit reached $691 billion in the first six months of fiscal year 2019. Treasury projects that the annual deficit will reach $1.1 trillion by the end of the fiscal year. The spike is due to increased spending and the TCJA.
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