Democrats criticized a Republican-crafted disaster tax relief package Monday for providing victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria with benefits that were not approved after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The opposition kept the bill, which was introduced Friday and brought up under a special procedure, from getting the needed two-thirds majority needed for passage as an emergency item. Another vote, using a procedure that only requires a majority, is expected later this week.
Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican whose district includes the Keys, urged his colleagues during debate Monday afternoon to approve the bill quickly because people hit by the storms need help. “They don’t have time to wait,” Curbelo said. “They certainly don’t have time to play political games.”
House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, introduced the bill on Friday last week that combined a handful of disaster-related tax breaks with an extension of funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, which is due to expire at the end of the week.
Brady’s bill would provide victims of Harvey, Irma and Maria in regions where President Trump has issued a disaster declaration with tax benefits for:
Employment relief (Work Opportunity Tax Credit): A tax credit would be provided of 40% of wages, up to $6,000 per employee for a disaster-affected employer from a core disaster area.
CMS will continue to watch this story as it develops.