House Democrats blocked a bill on Wednesday that would require members of Congress to disclose tax liens.
Congressman TJ Cox (D-Fresno), who currently faces a tax lien from the Internal Revenue Service over unpaid federal income taxes, voted against the bill.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), Cox’s neighbor to the south, introduced the Members of Congress Tax Liability and Garnishment Accountability Act on Tuesday.
The bill was rejected along party lines 226-186.
If passed, the bill would have also garnished federal wages from representatives until their debt was resolved.
Cox owes about $145,000 in unpaid federal income taxes. The IRS placed a lien on Cox in January, which listed about $87,000 in unpaid income tax for 2016 and around $57,000 in unpaid income tax for 2017.
In 2017, Cox paid off a $48,000 lien that was placed on him for unpaid income taxes in 2015.
Cox is currently serving his first term in Congress. He defeated former representative David Valadao by less than 1 percentage point in 2018 and is in the middle of a reelection campaign against Valadao.
In California’s primary elections on March 3, Valadao currently leads Cox by a 53 percent to 36 percent margin.
The primary results will pit the two against each other once again in the general election come November.
Congressman Rodney Davis, a Republican from Illinois, argued in favor of the bill on the House floor.
“We expect every American to file their taxes,” Davis said. “Those same hardworking Americans deserve to know if their representatives are doing the same. If it’s the position of the [Democratic] Party to force Americans to support politicians with their tax dollars and raise the taxes of hardworking families, we should at least let those same Americans know which of us in this body are even paying our own taxes.”