12:54 PM EDT
Shelley Berkley, D-NV 1st

Ms. BERKLEY. I thank the gentleman from Massachusetts for yielding. And I would like to particularly thank Chairman Rangel and Chairman Frank for their extraordinary efforts on behalf of the American people.

Mr. Speaker, this amendment and the overall housing package we are considering today will help millions of Americans and significantly improve the economic situation in my State of Nevada. In recent years the vibrant economy and rapid growth in my district of Las Vegas combined to make the city appear immune to economic downturn. This foreclosure crisis has shown that this is no longer the case.

Nevada has had the highest statewide foreclosure rate for well over a year. The surge in foreclosures has led to huge inventories of unsold homes. This, in turn, has led to massive layoffs of the construction industry and other housing-related fields. Nevada, which has been a land of economic opportunity, the fastest-growing State in the Nation, now has an unemployment rate of 5.8 percent, which is, I'm sorry to say, well above the national average.

This amendment takes several steps that will help both current and prospective homeowners as well as increase affordable housing opportunities. Current homeowners will be helped by the creation of a standard deduction for property taxes, which will lower Federal taxes for taxpayers who don't itemize and by freeing up funds to refinance certain subprime loans. The tax credit for first-time homebuyers creates a great incentive to get families into properties that are currently sitting vacant due

to foreclosure or that have been sitting on the market for long periods of time due to excess unsold inventory. The bill also takes steps to increase affordable rental housing, another critical need in Las Vegas.

I'm hopeful that the combined efforts of this amendment and other provisions of the package will be to alleviate the current housing crisis and help turn our Nation's economy around. I proudly support the intent and the substance of this legislation. I urge adoption.

And I must say I think it's insulting to the American people when they hear that there are Members on the other side of the aisle that support the bill, support the intent, but are voting against it because they didn't get a procedural motion to vote on.

Let's do what's best for the American people and stop this ridiculous infighting that nobody out there cares about. They care about staying in their homes. They care about protecting their families. And, quite frankly, they don't give a hoot whether somebody has a motion to recommit to vote on.