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Mr. KIND. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 3590, and thank my colleague and friend from Oregon, Mr. Blumenauer, not only for yielding me the time but for the work that he has put into this important piece of legislation. I also want to thank Chairman Rangel and Ranking Member Camp and the other members of the Ways and Means Committee, and the bipartisan support that this legislation has in Congress today. It is the right thing to do for our men and women in uniform.
As my colleague from Tennessee also indicated, Mr. Tanner, it is completely paid for. So it will not add a nickel to our national deficit. And it incorporates a number of very important proposals, including legislation that I had introduced earlier this year with a number of my colleagues to ensure that the men and women who are serving our country abroad are eligible for all the benefits and the opportunities that would be available to them as if they were stationed here in the United States instead of being deployed abroad in a conflict situation where they can't take advantage of these programs because of their deployment.
This sort of equity is the bare minimum that we should extend to these patriotic service members, many of whom are serving us very bravely in very dangerous missions.
Earlier this year, Congress took an important step to rejuvenating the housing market and helping middle class families buy their first home by modifying and extending the First-Time Homebuyer Credit. This important provision provides first-time homebuyers with an $8,000 tax credit for homes purchased before November 31, 2009. Unfortunately, again, with our service members serving overseas, they haven't been able to take advantage of that credit.
Earlier this year, I was joined by my colleague and friend from Wisconsin (Mr. Kagen) along with Representatives Sam Johnson and Charles Boustany, to introduce H.R. 2562, the Service Members Home Ownership Act. All that did was extend the opportunity for our servicemen and -women who are serving us abroad by 1 year the opportunity to take advantage of the first-time homebuyer $8,000 tax credit.
And with the work that Mr. Blumenauer did and his focus on extending that to Foreign Service members deployed overseas and members of our intelligence community, these provisions are reflected in this legislation today.
I do want to thank Chairman Rangel and others on the committee for understanding the basic equity that's enshrined in this legislation and also for clarifying the tax treatment of the Homeowner's Assistance Program, a program that is administered by the Department of Defense that was expanded in the American Recovery Act that makes it easier for certain members of the military to sell their homes as a result of their service to their country. The passage of this bill today will make sure that this assistance is not taxed as income.
I think these are very simple steps, steps that are necessary and fair to our servicemen and -women, including the largest call-up of National Guard members since World War II in the State of Wisconsin, who are serving us so very well overseas right now under trying and difficult circumstances. But the men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day deserve this kind of treatment from their government.
So I support the legislation, and I strongly encourage the rest of my colleagues to do so.
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