12:43 PM EDT
Bill Pascrell Jr., D-NJ 8th

Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, you can't have it both ways. You can't say that this is an emergency and we've got to get something done, and then in the other breath say let's go through the technical procedures. They're contradictory.

This bill was vetted. And housing inventories in our communities continue to increase and home prices continue to decline. We need to incentivize Americans to reenter the housing market. It affects so much of our economy. I think this amendment, this bill takes giant leaps towards accomplishing this goal. I applaud Mr. Rangel for his efforts and the 12 Members from the distinguished opposition who joined.

There is an array of good work here, but in particular I'm heartened that included within is a tax benefit for most first-time homebuyers. This is a truly meaningful incentive, and one that will pull out a large swath of people from the sidelines and back into the market, having a ripple effect throughout the rest of the economy. After all, without bold action to spur housing market activity, inventories across the country may continue to grow, placing downward pressure on home prices and wiping

out equity that so many Americans have worked so hard to build.

[Time: 12:45]

We don't want more homes to be in that situation. We prove nothing. There is a place for the Federal Government, therefore, in this terrible situation that has occurred and developed over the last year.

This bill, when passed, will allow middle class families to receive a tax benefit that is equivalent to an interest-free loan of $7,000 towards the purchase of their first home. It will also allow existing homeowners who claim the standard deduction to an additional standard deduction for property taxes, up to $700 for a married couple filing jointly.

When we first addressed this issue in the Ways and Means Committee, the National Association of Realtors found that our legislation would generate about 1 million sales----