December 16,2005

Chairman Grassley’s Floor Statement on the Senate Amendment to H.R. 4440, Katrina Tax Relief

Floor Statement of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Senate Amendment to H.R. 4440
Friday, December 16, 2005

Mr. President,

This amendment acts on our commitment to provide rebuilding assistance to areas of thecountry devastated by this year's relentless hurricane season. It will benefit residents of the Gulfregion, as well as more recently impacted areas of Texas and Florida, and provides much-neededrelief and resources for economic rebuilding to those areas.

As promised, we have made our best effort to marry up our compassion for displacedpersons and damaged communities with attention to fiscal discipline and the best use of taxpayerdollars. This bill represents an effort to most efficiently and effectively use the tax code to assistin the rebuilding and revitalization of those regions. I will reiterate the guiding principles of ourhurricane relief legislation. First, because market forces will be the driver in getting theseregions back on their feet, our bill includes only provisions that encourage and incentivizere-development. Second, our package provides resources only to those who incurred uninsuredlosses and does not provide for a bailout of those who assumed risk as an insurer in our capitalist,free-market system. Third, we have focused our limited federal resources on those most in need -like the many devastated small business employers who were the backbones of these economiesand who will be the engines of their future growth and prosperity. The amendment providesfront-loaded incentives on a timely basis to encourage people and businesses to return to theregion as quickly as possible.

I want to show my appreciation to my colleagues in the Senate and in the House forworking to get this legislation to the President as quickly as possible. Before we go home tospend time with our families, it is important for us to help the many families who have had theirlives overturned by the recent hurricanes. Hopefully they will think of this holiday season as atime of rebuilding and opportunity.

The amendment also includes tax technical correction provisions related to the AmericanJobs Creation Act of 2004 and other tax legislation. Technical corrections measures are routinefor major tax acts and are necessary to ensure that the provisions of the acts are workingconsistently with their original intent, or to provide clerical corrections. Because these measurescarry out Congressional intent, no revenue gain or loss is scored from them.

The process and test for technical corrections ensures that only provisions narrowlydrawn to carry out Congressional intent are included. Technical corrections are derived from adeliberative and consultative process among the Congressional and Administration tax staffs.That means the Republican and Democratic staffs of the House Ways and Means and SenateFinance Committees are involved as is the Treasury department staff. All of this work isperformed with the participation and guidance of the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxationstaff. A technical enters the list only if all staffs agree it is appropriate.

The Senate Finance Committee and the Committee on Ways and Means, in consultationwith the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Department of the Treasury, are continuing toassess proposals for other technical corrections which may be needed to achieve congressionalintent. On that point, no double benefit is intended under the railroad track maintenance credit ofCode section 45G. If the current basis adjustment rule is not serving to carry out that intent, theprovision may need to be clarified. Such a clarification might provide that basis or tax attributereduction applies to the taxpayer taking the credit. I would like to ask the staff to work on this.

In conclusion, this package will show those affected by Hurricanes Rita, Wilma, andKatrina that their needs have not been forgotten, and that we will continue to help them rebuildtheir homes, communities, and lives.