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Mr. PASCRELL. Thank you, my friend, Mr. Blumenauer. I stand before you to discuss H.R. 3590, the Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009. I want to congratulate Mr. Rangel, Mr. Camp, Mr. Blumenauer. This body stands tallest when we work together for our servicemembers. It really reflects the dignity of this body.
And I say this emphatically, that Mr. Rangel and Mr. Camp are always there, not only because they have a deep affection for their country, but because they have a deep connection with our service folks who defend us every day. This is the least we can do.
This legislation would extend the first-time homebuyer credit, the time limit by 1 year, for our military members serving outside the United States in 2009. The extension would allow servicemembers currently serving overseas to take advantage of an important tax credit offered to all citizens by the Recovery Act.
Our legislation would protect servicemembers from having to repay the credit if they are called up for service overseas and forced to sell their home within 3 years of purchasing.
Think of this, Mr. Speaker: this bill comes at a time when our servicemembers are challenged with the dual strain of war and economic strife. Taking care of the responsibilities in Iraq and Afghanistan and trying to take care of familial needs--just imagine, just imagine that stress.
The first-time homebuyer credit has already provided tax benefits to a million and a half families. Congress should do everything we can to ensure our servicemembers are also able to take full advantage of the programs we enact to benefit all Americans. And they need to know about it. We have an obligation to communicate to our service folks and our veterans what is available out there, because I think in the past 8 years we have surpassed in attempting to reach out to them so that they know what their benefits are.
I hope this bill sees swift passage in the House and the Senate. It's the right thing to do, Mr. Speaker.