Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin engaged in a heated debate with Democratic Rep. and House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters during a Tuesday budget hearing before the House Financial Services Committee.
"No other secretary has ever told us the day before that they were going to limit their time", Waters said.
"We received the letter, we're working on the letter with counsel, and we anticipate responding", Rettig said, though he didn't say whether a response would happen by the deadline.
Allies of the President have argued that the Democrats have no right to see his returns.
But, Mnuchin said Wednesday, "t$3 he legal implications of this request could affect protections for all Americans against politically-motivated disclosures of personal tax information, regardless of which party is in power".
Mr. Neal cited an obscure provision in the law that says the Treasury Secretary "shall furnish" taxpayer information if it's requested by one of the chairmen of Congress's tax-writing committees.
"Remember, I got elected last time, the exact same issue, with the same intensity, which was not very much, because, frankly, the people don't care", Trump said as he left the White House for a trip to Texas.
Trump says he can not release the tax returns because he is under audit, and the administration has put up a united front aimed at blocking the documents from being released.
In a House Financial Services Committee hearing in July 2017, Mnuchin stalled while answering a question asked by Waters by showering the Congresswoman in meaningless praise.
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"I will cancel my meeting and I will not be back here", said Mnuchin.
Neal had faced mounting pressure from liberal members of his committee and from activist groups demanding that he issue the request, made under a 1924 law that empowers the heads of three congressional committees to request the returns of any filer.
Democratic Rep. Nydia Velázquez of NY shot back, "And the law says - upon a written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate or the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the secretary shall furnish".
Rettig said he hadn't been instructed not to comply with the request by anyone acting on the White House's behalf.
"I am unable to discuss that with you at this moment", Rettig told CNN after the hearing. "It's a new day and it's a new chair", said Waters.
But Mnuchin, who pointed to the Bahraini official waiting in his office, refused the request, saying that further delay would be "very embarrassing" for the secretary.
The public back-and-forth exposed the rancor between Mnuchin and Waters, a California Democrat who has promised aggressive oversight of President Donald Trump's administration and has long advocated for his impeachment.
The suggestion here seems to be that if Waters understood the wealth that Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive, perhaps she would be more amenable to his needs, because, he's super wealthy? The president's outside attorney also did not respond to a request for comment.
As a presidential candidate in 2016, Trump broke with a decades-old convention of releasing tax returns publicly.