Senate Passes Housing Relief Package, Includes Several Cornyn-Backed Amendments To Boost Housing Benefits For Veterans, Provide Tax Relief To New Homeowners
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Senate Passes Housing Relief Package, Includes Several Cornyn-Backed Amendments To Boost Housing Benefits For Veterans, Provide Tax Relief To New Homeowners

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WASHINGTON – April 10, 2008 – U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, today voted in favor of a broad housing relief package, the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008, H.R. 3221, to restore confidence in the U.S. housing market and help to remedy the current foreclosure crisis. The legislation includes several amendments authored or co-authored by Sen. Cornyn, including initiatives to enhance veterans’ housing benefits and encourage renewable energy development and energy efficiency.

“Families across Texas and the nation are feeling the direct and ripple effects of a struggling housing market and burdensome gas prices. While I remain a firm believer in personal responsibility and limited government, I believe Congress has the duty to take responsible steps to keep the economy from spiraling downward and address the needs of the American people.

“The Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 is a step in the right direction to revive a troubled housing market that has been rife with fraudulent lending practices and foreclosures. While I do not believe the government should be in the business of bailing out those who made bad business decisions, I supported this legislation. This bill, while not perfect, includes a number of proposals that will have a direct, positive impact on our state’s economy and help Texas families, veterans, and homeowners. Specifically, this legislation includes an important new tax credit, which I cosponsored, for families and individuals who purchase new or foreclosed homes. By giving Americans more of their hard-earned money back to spend, invest or save as they see fit, we can provide a much-needed shot in the arm to our economy and the housing market.

“In addition to housing relief, the package includes an amendment I supported to make a significant investment in the research and production of alternative energy and encourage energy efficiency among all Americans. If we are going to be serious about reducing our dependence on foreign oil and bringing down burdensome energy prices, we must act now to diversify our nation’s energy portfolio with clean, renewable fuels.”

Details on Sen. Cornyn’s amendment to enhance housing benefits for our veterans:

  • Cuts red tape by allowing disabled active duty military personnel to get housing benefits before they “officially” retire from active duty.
  • Makes family members eligible for housing grants if they are caring for wounded warriors.
  • Ensures that burn victims are eligible for housing grants.
  • Increases the amounts of the housing grants for disabled active duty and veterans.

Details on amendment cosponsored by Sen. Cornyn to encourage renewable energy development:

  • Extends incentives to encourage renewable energy including tax credits for wind power, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower.
  • Includes a 30 percent business credit for the purchase of fuel cell power plants and solar energy property.
  • Extends tax credit for residential solar property and a one-year credit for energy efficiency improvements to existing homes.

Among other provisions, the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 includes:

  • A $7,000 tax credit, distributed over 2 years, for individuals who purchase new unoccupied or foreclosed homes.
  • A provision to lengthen the time a lender must wait before starting foreclosures from 3 months to 9 months after a soldier returns from service and provides returning soldiers with one year relief from increases in mortgage interest rates.
  • Allow homeowners who do not itemize their tax return to claim an additional standard deduction for the amount of local property taxes paid with a limit of $500 for singles and $1,000 for married couples. Under present law, taxpayers who itemize may deduct the full amount of local property taxes paid from their federal tax return.
  • Funding for pre-foreclosure counseling to assist Americans in making financially secure decisions.
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