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Public Statements

Katrina Housing Tax Relief Act Of 2007

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

KATRINA HOUSING TAX RELIEF ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - March 27, 2007)


Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, Hurricane Katrina was more than a natural catastrophe. The painful images of folks suffering, dying, and calling desperately for help will forever be seared in our collective conscience. I rise today in strong support of the Katrina Housing Relief Act, critical legislation designed to respond to the needs of hurricane victims by getting affordable housing in the gulf coast region expeditiously built.

I want to commend Chairman Rangel for the steady hand he has displayed in crafting this legislation and also for the collegial spirit he has fostered on the Ways and Means Committee thus far. This is the second noteworthy tax package that has come to the floor in recent weeks, and I am heartened at the bipartisanship that has been displayed. And when it comes to helping those who suffered from Katrina, bipartisanship is the only way to operate.

Unfortunately, the immediate response from Washington was handled poorly, insufficiently, and only exacerbated the suffering. Today, we take a step in the right direction. We need to get help to people and get them back in their homes, and this bill does that.

H.R. 1562 strengthens existing tax incentives to builders of affordable rental housing by extending the current deadline within which those units must be inhabited by an extra 2 years, to 2010. The bill makes it easier for a greater number of homeowners to benefit from tax-exempt bonds issued by local governments for substantial renovations and to refinance existing residential mortgage loans.

These are prudent, practical measures that will do a great deal of good for those in need. I implore my colleagues to support this bill. I again commend the leadership for bringing this to the floor.


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