Republicans feel the heat after they vote again to hide Donald Trump's tax returns, while pushing for tax cuts for the super rich and as their constituents are bracing for a massive natural disaster.
Millions of Americans are bracing for the onslaught of Hurricane Irma, evacuating their homes and trying to find safe harbor. And Congressional Republicans used this time to quietly announce their continued capitulation to Donald Trump.
House GOP members again locked arms with Trump and unified as a party to continue hiding his tax returns, prompting criticism for their continued stonewalling on the issue.
Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee introduced a resolution that would have required the IRS to produce Trump's tax returns from 2006 to 2016, along with tax information for 515 business entities connected to Trump. He is the first presidential candidate of either party in 40-plus years to refuse to release tax returns.
The measure failed on a 21-15 vote, with every Republican on the panel voting to keep Americans in the dark.
The committee's chair, Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady, was predictable in his dismissal of the measure, calling it a "procedural tool being utilized, and I believe abused, for political purposes."
But New Jersey Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell, who proposed the measure, slammed the GOP for that outlook:
This vote deprives the American people of the transparency they deserve and the checks and balances the U.S. Constitution requires. My Republican colleagues may think they registered a win today by blocking this measure, but when the public is kept in the dark, no one wins. This will not be the last they hear from me.
Pascrell also noted the hypocrisy of Trump and Republicans hiding his taxes while both are in a push to cut taxes for the extremely wealthy and corporations — something Trump deems more urgent as the hurricane bears down on the Southeast.
And as the Washington Post editorial board pointedly asked, "Shouldn’t elected representatives know how President Trump might benefit and what interests are really being served?"
Slamming the congressional move, the Post bitingly concluded, "It appears Republicans also need to be reminded that Congress’s job is not to provide slavish political cover for the executive, but rather independent oversight."
But despite the insistence by many mainstream political reporters of his independence, Trump and his party are joined at the hip, working together to keep whatever damaging information that is being hidden in these documents away from the public for whom they ostensibly work.