Sep 25 2019
Washington – Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to introduce legislation to provide tax relief to victims of several 2018 natural disasters. The bipartisan bill, the Hurricanes Florence and Michael and California Wildfire Tax Relief Act, would continue to provide relief to victims of last year’s natural disasters.
“Wildfires in California are getting worse and worse,” said Senator Feinstein. “Last year’s Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive in California’s history, killing 85 people and destroying 14,000 homes. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. And as long as these fires continue, we need to do more to help the victims. Thousands of families across the country are rebuilding after natural disasters and they need our help. That’s why our bipartisan bill offers tax relief for families to rebuild. It’s a no-brainer bill and deserves to pass quickly.”
“North Carolina is still rebuilding from Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael, both of which devastated communities, destroyed homes, and created lasting financial hardships,” said Senator Burr. “Congress must do its part and provide much-needed relief to affected families and businesses who are still picking up the pieces of their lives. This legislation will continue to provide eligible individuals and businesses with critical tax relief so they have the flexibility and means to rebuild their lives, homes, and communities.”
“Natural disasters caused widespread destruction in North Carolina and across the United States last year, leaving families without homes, businesses unable to open, and financial hardship for those trying to recover,” said Senator Tillis. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing bipartisan legislation that would provide much-needed tax-relief for families and small businesses who were affected, including those in North Carolinians recovering from Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael.”
“Last year’s wildfires devastated communities across California and disrupted the lives of thousands of Californians who are still recovering and rebuilding,” said Senator Harris. “The United States Congress has a responsibility to support those who are continuing the recovery process, which is why I’m proud to join with my colleagues on this legislation to provide them with much-needed tax relief.”
“Last year, Hurricanes Florence and Michael resulted in horrible flooding and devastation to South Carolina and our neighboring states,” said Senator Graham. “By reintroducing this bill this Congress, we are making clear that Congress should and must pass this legislation immediately. As Hurricane Dorian just demonstrated in the Bahamas, hurricanes can be life altering for those affected. This tax relief package will permit South Carolinians, and other Americans impacted by disaster, greater tax flexibility in utilizing their retirement account assets to address disaster-related needs. It’s similar to the legislation Congress passed to support Texans suffering in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in 2017. I applaud Senator Burr’s continued leadership.”
“As a country, we have always come together to help hardworking Americans get back on their feet and aid those states and individuals who are dealing with the results of storms and other unexpected disasters,” said Senator Isakson. “The federal government’s job is to serve the people, and this commonsense legislation would provide much-needed tax relief to families and small businesses as they recover.”
“Families, businesses, and communities across our state are still recovering from recent natural disasters, including Northwest Florida communities that were devastated by Hurricane Michael almost one year ago,” said Senator Rubio. “Providing tax relief so Floridians can use their money to recover would further help those who are still rebuilding their lives and communities. I am proud to join my colleagues in this important effort, and I will continue my work to ensure Floridians affected by Hurricane Michael and other natural disasters receive the support they need from the federal government.”
The Hurricanes Florence and Michael and California Wildfire Tax Relief Act would continue to provide much-needed relief to eligible individuals and businesses within the federally-designated disaster zones. Specifically, the legislation would:
- Allow more taxpayers to claim a deduction for personal casualty losses by removing the requirement to itemize;
- Remove penalties on certain hardship withdrawals from retirement accounts;
- Encourage employers in hard-hit areas to retain employees;
- Allow taxpayers to use earned income from the preceding year when claiming Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit;
- Suspend limits on charitable contributions to disaster relief efforts.
Senators Feinstein, Burr, Tillis, Harris, Graham, and Rubio introduced similar legislation last Congress in the aftermath of Hurricanes Florence and Michael and the California wildfires.