Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) joined an almost unanimous House of Representatives yesterday in support of legislation that will provide relief for those unable to find a job, prospective home buyers, military personnel, and small businesses. The House approved several measures as part of H.R. 3548 by a vote of 403-12.
The legislation extends unemployment insurance benefits for an additional 14 weeks for all States and provides an additional 6-week extension for States with total unemployment rates above 8.5 percent. "Unemployment is still high across the country, and this extension will provide relief for those who have been unable to secure a job in these difficult economic times," Hall said.
The bill provides incentives for home buyers by extending the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers for five months, from November 30, 2009 to May 1, 2010. It provides a $6,500 tax credit for homebuyers who are not first-time buyers but have owned a primary residence at least five consecutive years in the last eight years, and it raises income eligibility for individuals and couples.
Military personnel also receive relief in the measure. It waives provisions to recapture the credit for those on qualified official duty and extends the tax credit for an additional year for those on qualified extended duty for 90 days or more since 2008. It expands the amount that military personnel who lose home value because of a military base closure are allowed to exclude from gross income for tax purposes.
Finally, the bill helps businesses by extending the net operating loss carryback period from two years to five years for 2008 or 2009.
"All of these measures will help those who need help and will also bolster the economy," Hall said. "This bill is an example of how Congress can pass good legislation when there is bipartisan cooperation and agreement."