Last week House Leadership released a merged version of the health care reform legislation that was passed by three House committees in July. I immediately posted the text of this bill on my website so that all of my constituents can view the bill for themselves.
Over the past several months, I’ve expressed a number of concerns with the initial draft of H.R. 3200. I was concerned that leaders here in Congress were not giving Members enough time to study the bill and discuss it with their constituents, which is why I pushed to postpone a vote until after the August recess. I’ve also raised concerns with some of the policy aspects of the bill, including its cost, its impact on the deficit, and the impact that the employer mandate and surtax would have on small businesses and job creation. Now that the revised bill has been introduced, I will be thoroughly reviewing this legislation to see how these priorities are addressed within the new language of the bill.
While I recognize the urgent need to reform our health care system to reduce costs for families, employers, and the federal government, I will not be able to support a bill that does not adequately address these goals. In the meantime, please know that I have greatly appreciated all of the feedback I have received from constituents on this issue, and I understand how important this moment is to our country's future. I will keep you updated as consideration of this bill proceeds in the days ahead.
With health care reform taking most of the headlines, I did want to take an opportunity to give a brief update about some of the other issues I have been working on in Congress to address concerns of families throughout Maryland’s First District.
Earlier this month, I introduced legislation to extend the home-buyers tax credit, which realtors and economists have pointed to as a major factor encouraging the recovery of the housing market in Maryland and across the country. H.R. 3640 will extend the $8,000 tax credit for one year and expand eligibility to include all homebuyers purchasing a principal residence, while also offering tax relief to individuals or families forced to sell their home at a loss. Simply put, this tax credit is working, and in this housing market it would be foolish to allow this program to expire when it is working so effectively. Click here to take a look a the bill and here to view an impartial CRS analysis of the extension.
Another bill I recently introduced is HR 3898, the Small Business Property Reimbursement Act. This legislation will extend a key tax deduction for small business owners that invest in new equipment for their businesses. Specifically, my bill will extend a provision of the tax code that allows small businesses to expense up to $250,000 of the total cost of qualified assets purchased for business purposes. I feel strongly that instead of bailing out giant corporations, we ought to focus on strengthening the small businesses that support our local economies and drive economic growth. This bill provides much-needed tax relief that will allow small business owners to re-invest and create new jobs. Click here to read the bill.
With warm regards,
Rep. Frank M. Kratovil, Jr.