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. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) this week introduced a bill that would force members of Congress to disclose any delinquent taxes liabilities they have, and even allow for the garnishment of their wages to pay off that liability. His bill, the Members of Congress Tax Accountability Act, would also require an ethics inquiry into any tax liability that is reported. "Lawmakers have an obvious obligation to the American people to lead by example, and should not enjoy a double standard when it comes to paying their taxes," Chaffetz said. "In fact, they should be held to an even higher standard because of the public trust placed in them. Not even Members of Congress are above the laws they write."
The Speech or Debate Clause is a clause in the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 6, Clause 1) . The clause states that members of both Houses of Congress “
...shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place. ”
The intended purpose is to prevent a President or other officials of the executive branch from having members arrested on a pretext to prevent them from voting a certain way or otherwise taking actions with which the President might disagree. A similar clause in many state constitutions protects members of state legislatures in the United States. LegiZslators in non-U.S. jurisdictions may be protected by a similar doctrine of parliamentary immunity.