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Senators Seek Tax Relief for Flood and Tornado Victims in the Midwest

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Senators Seek Tax Relief for Flood and Tornado Victims in the Midwest

Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Barack Obama (D-IL), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Kit Bond (R-MO), Richard Lugar (R-IN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Evan Bayh (D-IN) have filed an amendment to the housing legislation that's pending in the Senate. The amendment is a tax relief measure designed to help people and communities in Midwestern states hard hit over the last month by floods and tornados.

The senators said the Midwestern Disaster Tax Relief bill is modeled after tax legislation that Congress passed to help victims of the tornado in Kiowa County, Kansas in 2007 and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005. The new proposal contains provisions that would let disaster victims withdraw money from retirement plans without tax penalties, suspend limits on tax incentives for charitable contributions, create tax-exempt bond authority to help rebuild infrastructure, remove limitations on deducting casualty losses due to natural disaster, and allow additional depreciation and increased amounts for expensing property to help businesses.

"As residents continue to battle the flooding back home in Illinois, I will continue to work in Washington to see that they have access to every federal recovery tool," Durbin said. "Tax relief has proven to be extremely useful in helping people and communities get back on their feet after a major disaster. I hope Congress will act swiftly so Illinoisans will have immediate access to relief funds as soon as the President makes a disaster declaration for Illinois."

"Families and communities across Illinois have suffered so much due to this year's flooding, and we must do everything we can to help them recover and begin to rebuild," said Obama. "I am proud to support this amendment to offer tax relief and assistance to the victims of this disaster. I will continue to work with Senator Durbin and my colleagues to help rebuild the Midwest in the days and weeks ahead."

"Tax relief has been important and helpful to tornado and hurricane victims in recent years, and it's just as important for people in Iowa and other Midwestern states this year who have been wiped out by flooding and tornados, including an EF5 tornado in Parkersburg, Iowa," Grassley said. "The sooner Congress acts on this disaster tax relief, the better. People are working day and night to put their lives and their communities back together. There's so much hurt, but people are determined to get through it and rebuild. Given the enormity of the loss in Iowa, I hope Congress can find a way to act quickly to help through tax relief, along with other measures."

"Iowans and our neighbors in the Midwest have endured a tough year with floods, tornadoes and other natural disasters," Harkin said. "While the storms may be behind us, many families have experienced huge losses - loss of their homes, belongings and livelihoods. Communities large and small are facing the daunting task of rebuilding their entire infrastructure. Now is the time to offer relief and assistance to the people of Iowa and the Midwest."

"Missourians are in a world of hurt right now. Many of our small communities, thousands of businesses and homes, have been devastated by rising flood waters. This amendment will help to make sure that America's heartland will have the resources they need to recover from the floods," McCaskill said.

"Too often, Missourians are reminded of nature's tremendous devastating power," Bond said. "These provisions will help Missourians and other Midwestern families recover after being hard-hit by Mother Nature. It is critical that we provide our communities the resources they need to get back on their feet."

"Disasters can take away lives; they can destroy homes; and they can wipe away roads and bridges. But in America, we won't let them take away our spirit of community," Klobuchar said. "At a time like this, local communities should not be expected to fend for themselves - this relief will help these communities begin to recover and rebuild from the devastating flooding in the Midwest."

"In the last several weeks, thousands of residents in Indiana, like so many across the Midwest, have had their lives chaotically disrupted by storms, tornadoes and floods," Bayh said. "Time is not our ally in getting resources to ravaged communities. Congress must move quickly to pass this legislation, and then we must act to appropriate additional funds, to deliver critical aid to storm victims so they can rebuild their homes, their businesses and their lives."

A summary of the amendment filed this morning is below. The legislation would benefit Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Arkansas.


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