Since September 11th, American military, diplomatic, and intelligence personnel have seen extended and recurring deployments in support of contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. These brave Americans have answered the call and at the drop of a hat gone off to defend this great nation in a most consequential time. This House, and the American people, are extremely grateful for their courage and sacrifice.
Today, as we rotate personnel home from Iraq and contemplate increasing force levels in Afghanistan, Congress can ease the transition for those in uniform by ensuring existing home ownership tax incentives are flexible for their circumstances.
This bill does that. It modifies the existing First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit to make it fairer for military and diplomatic families deploying overseas or returning home who, under the way the current credit is written, may be unable to take advantage. These provisions are based heavily on language included in bills that many, including my colleague from Lousiana, Charles Boustany and from North Carolina, Walter Jones have championed for some time.
The bill also helps military families relocating as part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. As DOD has transformed its base infrastructure, many service families have had difficulties selling homes adjacent to military installations because of declining values and an unprecedented slowdown in the housing market.
In the stimulus bill, Congress provided relief in the form of a one-time funding increase of $555 million for DOD’s Homeowner’s Assistance Program, which provides housing payments to these military families to help with relocation. H.R. 3590 clarifies that military families will not be taxed on these additional benefits.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, this is a good bill, and I’m proud to lend my support to it today. I am hopeful the Senate will quickly approve the legislation so the President can sign it into law. We owe our men and women in uniform, as well as the families that support them, nothing less.
With that I reserve the balance of my time.