PASCRELL, WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE ADVANCE MEASURE TO BENEFIT MILITARY FAMILIES AND VOLUNTEER WORKERS
PASCRELL EITC COMBAT PAY PROVISION INREASES COMPENSATION FOR MILITARY MEN AND WOMEN
Signaling an end to a national tax policy that prioritizes the wealthiest few instead of those making the greatest sacrifices for our freedom, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. today joined a unanimous majority in the House Ways and Means Committee to approve the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Act of 2007.
The legislation includes a provision that Rep. Pascrell authored in February 2007 as part of H.R. 2222, the Strengthen the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Act, which would extend combat pay to military men and women for the purpose of computing their earned income credit. Combat pay is generally non-taxable and therefore not included EITC computation.
"I applaud the committee for working in a bipartisan manner towards reversing the unjust nature that America's tax policy has taken on in recent years," stated Pascrell. "While the Bush Administration has dramatically increased the fortunes of the already fortunate, middle and low income families have suffered. Thousands of military families join countless volunteer firefighters, Peace Corps and Americorps volunteers as the forgotten heroes in our tax code. It is time for more Americans to share in the sacrifice being made by America's military, public safety, and civic role models."
In addition to making permanent the ability to include combat pay as earned income for the purpose of computing earned income credit, the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Act of 2007 would benefit America's military men and women by; 1) modifying mortgage bonds to finance residences for veterans; 2) permitting active duty reservists to make penalty-free withdrawals from retirement plans; 3) permitting recipients of military death gratuities to roll over the amounts received, tax-free, to a Roth IRA or an Education Savings Account.
The legislation also takes into account the important civic service of America's volunteer firefighters, Peace Corps and Americorps members. Volunteer firefighters would be permitted to exclude certain reimbursable expenses incurred in the line of duty from their income. It would benefit Peace Corps members by clarifying the application of the "five-year requirement" to the sale of a principal residence by a Peace Corps Volunteer. Americorps volunteer benefits and allowances would be disregarded for the purposes of determining Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility.
"I am pleased that Congress is beginning to reinstitute the EITC and modify America's tax code in a way that will sew America's moral fabric back together and benefit those who most deserve and need tax assistance. This bill's committee passage is a tribute dwarfed by the service of America's military families and civic volunteers, but it is a very meaningful start," Pascrell concluded.