Shea-Porter Applauds Passage of Key Veterans Bills

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter applauded the passage of two key pieces of legislation that will help our nation’s service members and veterans.  The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act and the Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act both passed the House of Representatives this afternoon with broad bipartisan support.  

“Our veterans rely on their VA medical care and they deserve to receive it in a timely manner,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “This bill will help ensure that any possible Congressional delay will never prevent our veterans from receiving care.”

The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act (H.R.1016) authorizes Congress to approve investments in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care in advance, and requires the President to request those funds one year in advance. The bill is now scheduled to go to the Senate where it will be cleared for the President’s signature. 

The legislation is supported by several veterans’ groups, including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, and Paralyzed Veterans of America.

The Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act (H.R. 3590) makes changes to several Recovery Act provisions in how they apply to service members.  The legislation would:

Ensure that certain payments are exempt from tax under the Defense Housing Assistance Program (HAP) to assist military personnel selling a home that has declined in value

Ensure service members will not have to repay the first-time home buyer credit if they are ordered to deploy to a different location and, as a result, are forced to sell their home within three years of buying it. 

Extend for one year, to December 1, 2010, the deadline for taking advantage of the first-time home buyer credit for qualifying service members, so that certain service members stationed overseas can take advantage of the credit when they return.

“Our service members and their families have made tremendous sacrifices for our country and they deserve our support,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter.  “This bill will help our service members by making several important changes to the Recovery Act.”

The Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act is supported by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Military Officers Association of America, National Military Family Association, American Foreign Service Association, National Association of Home Builders, and National Association of Realtors.