Neal, Thompson, Pascrell & Leading Democrats Introduce Disaster Tax Relief Legislation

Oct 31, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA), Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) today introduced the Give Assistance and Help to Americans impacted by Natural Disasters Act (“Give A HAND” Act) to provide relief to individuals and businesses to recover in the immediate aftermath of the recent natural disasters and assist the ongoing rebuilding process in communities touch by natural disasters in years past.

The “Give A HAND” Act would provide certain  retroactive tax benefits to taxpayers who suffered from past natural disasters (2012-2015), while also providing a package of relief provisions that are effective for all natural disasters from 2016 going forward, including relief for victims from the recent wildfires in Northern California, and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. This bill would ensure that U.S. territories impacted by natural disasters, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands – still reeling from the devastating storms, have the adequate tools and economic support from the federal government to recover and rebuild.  Finally, H.R. 4172 ensures that Medicare beneficiaries who were unable to meet enrollment deadlines as a result of the disaster receive relief from statutory late enrollment penalties.

“In times of disaster Americans come together and support our friends and neighbors,” said Congressman Neal. “The disaster aid package that passed the House weeks ago was anemic at best, and it certainly did nothing to help those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria rebuild in the long term. Worse, given that the relief in that law was limited to victims of those three hurricanes, the package did absolutely nothing for our fellow Americans struggling to recover from the wildfires in Northern California.  We must not pick and choose who deserves our nation’s support in the time of disaster.  Our friends in New York and New Jersey who were devastated by Hurricane Sandy can tell you that rebuilding is a long, slow road and those going through that process should have the peace of mind that their government will be with them every step along the way.”

“The wildfires that have torn through our community have left thousands devastated. This bill would give those folks the tax relief they need to focus on rebuilding their lives and community in the wake of this disaster,” said Rep. Thompson. “This legislation would also make permanent various temporary disaster tax relief measures that have been given to survivors of different disasters over the years, speeding up relief for future disasters by removing Congressional action from the equation.”

“We need a comprehensive and immediate response to natural disasters when they strike,” said Congressman Pascrell. “Disaster relief should not be a matter of politics or geography. I have been fighting for disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy since 2012, and watched as other disaster areas were given assistance that Sandy victims were denied.  The federal response should be swift and strong whether the impacted region is home to the Ways and Means chairman or not. I commend Ranking Member Neal for taking up these provisions from my bipartisan bill, the National Disaster Tax Relief Act, as well as my bill extending the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit to Puerto Rico. As the island recovers from Hurricane Maria, economic assistance cannot come soon enough.”

Full text of the bill can be found here, and a section-by-section summary can be found here.