November 20, 2009
Extending Help in a Time of Crisis As we approach the holiday season, many families in Iowa and around the country are struggling with the hardships of a tough economy. This month, I supported legislation to extend crucial benefits to those who are looking for work or struggling against other realities of the day. On November 5, the House passed the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act which will extend unemployment benefits for out-of-work Iowans by an additional 14 weeks. Iowa’s unemployment rate was 6.7 percent as of September, according to Iowa Workforce Development. This legislation will provide immediate assistance to Iowa’s workers, families, and businesses, and relieve the state from providing these benefits instead. I did not support the original Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act passed in September because it only provided an extension of benefits to residents of states with an unemployment rate of more than 8.5 percent. While Iowa has an unemployment rate of 6.7 percent, at least four counties in the 3rd Congressional District had a rate of more than 9 percent unemployment. Unemployment is a hurt shared nationwide. The entire country has felt the impact of near-economic collapse. This legislation also extended the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit program through April 2010, and creates a new tax credit for current homeowners purchasing a new home of $6,500. The income limits for home buyers were also increased under this bill from $75,000 for singles and $150,000 for married couples to $125,000 for singles and $225,000 for married couples. These incentives will help to revive the housing market and to restore home values around the country. Additionally, the bill helps military families struggling to make mortgage payments by making those payments tax-exempt. It also allows the country’s small businesses to carry back losses incurred in either 2008 or 2009 against income earned in any of the five prior years. Rebuilding our economy will take resilience on the part of the American people. I will continue to support legislation that provides our nation’s families and workers with the tools to survive these tough times in order for our economy to thrive again.
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