Long Island is going through challenging economic times. Many New Yorkers found themselves out of a job after Superstorm Sandy, which caused an estimated $32.8 billion in economic damage to our economy. I spearheaded House efforts to pass $60.4 billion in disaster relief funding for areas hit by Sandy, which includes Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Part of this funding will be allocated to help businesses recoup losses and return to full operational status -- so New Yorkers can get back to work. It will take time to restore Long Island after this record-setting storm, and I will do everything in my power to ensure New Yorkers have the funds they need to rebuild their homes, businesses and livelihoods.
In addition to aiding those in need after Superstorm Sandy, Congress must make job creation and economic recovery its biggest priorities. We need legislation that provides tax relief for middle class families and small businesses, revitalizes the stagnant housing market, encourages banks to lend, reduces bureaucratic red tape, and spends responsibly in job-creating industries like infrastructure creation and improvement.
The housing market is often a bellwether of the health of the overall economy. Last Congress I fought to make sure liquidity in the housing market was preserved for Long Islanders by securing an extension of Federal Housing Administration mortgage loan limits. This maintained access to affordable housing and provided needed funds for Long Islanders to buy and sell their homes.
To assist veterans who are homeless and have fallen on hard times, I worked with a group of bipartisan members to secure increased funding for Veterans Supportive Housing. This provides homeless vets with increased access to housing vouchers and VA clinical services -- helping them to get back on their feet so they have the opportunity for employment and a fresh start.
I cosponsored and voted for the JOBS Act (H.R. 3606) which helps startups and entrepreneurs grow and finance their business ideas by reducing regulation and increasing investment prospects. President Obama signed this legislation into law in April 2012.
I have also introduced legislation, the Capital Access for Small Businesses and Jobs Act, to make it easier for local credit unions to grow to meet the needs of small businesses, homebuyers and families.
On January 1, 2013, I voted for legislation (H.R. 8) that permanently extended the Bush tax cuts for 99% of Americans -- shielding the vast majority of New Yorkers from a massive tax increase. This Congress I am hopeful we will tackle an overhaul of our tax code, which would reduce overhead and make U.S. businesses more competitive in the global economy, and ideally reduce the tax burden for our middle class -- making our local businesses more profitable.