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South Florida Republicans Vote To Block Bill For Release Of Trump's Tax Returns

From left to right: Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo

South Florida Republicans voted to block House Democrats’ efforts to force President Trump to release his tax returns last night.

Representative Bill Pascrell, (D-NJ) put forward the resolution to “request the tax return information of Donald J. Trump for tax years 2006 through 2015” for review by the House Ways and Means Committee.

Pascrell argued that information about Trump’s businesses, debts, and creditors is essential to decipher any potential conflicts of interest and ties to Russia that spring from his global real estate and branding empire.

In a 229-185 vote that split along party lines, Representatives Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, opposed the bill. Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz voted for it; Rep. Frederica Wilson did not vote.

It is the second time in two weeks that Representative Carlos Curbelo, who sits on the Ways and Means Committee, has passed up an opportunity to push for the release of Trump’s tax returns, after reportedly saying that Trump should follow precedent and release them during the presidential campaign last year.

Curbelo was not immediately available for an interview. His office released a statement calling the resolution to request release of Trump's tax returns a "partisan stunt."

“The Congressman has continually called for Trump to release his tax returns since May of 2016," the statement says, echoing an argument previously used by fellow House Republicans that requiring the release of Trump's tax returns would be a violation of Trump's privacy. "While the Congressman still believes the President must be transparent with the public, Congress has no power to arbitrarily publish the tax returns of any American."

Staff for Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen did not respond to requests for comment.

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