Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016by Representative John B. Larson
Posted on 2015-12-17
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of
the PATH Act. While this is not a perfect bill, I join with the
President in supporting this legislation as it represents clear
progress for the American people. This legislation will permanently
continue critical tax breaks to aid children and working families. It
will permanently extend key provisions like the R&D tax credit and
Section 179 expensing that will help our small businesses and
manufacturers grow jobs and strengthen the economy. This bipartisan
bill moves us forward as a nation both in terms of the benefits it
provides and the signal it sends that it is possible for Congress to
break the gridlock that has unfortunately engulfed Washington for too
I am particularly proud that the permanent extension of the R&D tax credit that I sponsored along with Chairman Kevin Brady was included in this legislation. The R&D tax credit is a driver of innovation and economic growth, and making it permanent will provide the certainty American companies need to make the long-term investments in our nation and in our workers for technologies that will keep our global economic edge. The R&D credit, along with a permanent extension of the Section 179 expensing credit, will give businesses in Connecticut and across the country the stability they need in the tax code to move our economy forward.
For children and working families, this legislation also offers a permanent extension of critical tax credits. The permanent extension of the Recovery Act enhancements of the EITC and CTC credits as well as the AOTC will ensure millions of working families across the country will continue to receive well-deserved tax breaks. Without this extension, by 2018, over 50 million individuals would have lost part or all of their credits. In Connecticut, 141,000 children in 42,000 families would lose access to part or all of their EITC or CTC credits. These provisions are absolutely critical and without them, I would not have been able to support this agreement. I wholeheartedly agree with my colleagues who have argued that the CTC should be indexed for inflation and while it is unfortunate that indexing is not included in this agreement, I will continue to fight for its inclusion on bills moving forward.
In addition, this bill includes other important provisions, including a permanent extension of a deduction for teachers who purchase supplies for their classrooms as well as critical charitable provisions such as a credit for the donation of food inventory and a provision that allows for tax-free distributions from IRAs for charitable purposes. It also incorporates other bills that will help with economic development, like the New Markets Tax credit, the low income housing tax credit, and legislation ensuring tax relief for another year for homeowners who have had part of their mortgage debt forgiven.
Finally, I want to thank the negotiators for including a bill that I co-authored with Rep. Sam Johnson--the Wrongful Convictions Tax Relief Act, which ensures that compensation awards received by those who were wrongfully accused are not subjected to federal taxes on their awards. I first introduced the bill with Mr. Johnson in 2007 following the exoneration of James Tillman in Connecticut. I was proud to co-author this bill with Mr. Johnson, a true American hero, which rights a tremendous wrong in the tax code. Individuals who have been wrongfully accused have already suffered enough, so the notion that they would be taxed on the awards they receive as a result of their wrongful imprisonment is unconscionable. Once again, I thank the negotiators for including this common-sense bill in this package.
On the whole, this bill will provide tremendous benefits for children, working families, and economic growth in our country. I support this bill and look forward to its passage.