WASHINGTON, DC—Congressman Himes this week helped pass two bills to aid veterans’ transition into non-combat life: the Service Members Home Ownership Act and the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act.  Both pieces of legislation reinforce Congressman Himes’ commitment to ensuring veterans have access to the benefits have defended and earned.

“Veterans should not be denied this tax credit and the chance to buy a home because they were overseas risking their lives to protect us,” said Congressman Himes.

The Service Members Homeownership Tax Act extends the deadline for the first-time homebuyer credit to December 1, 2010 for military personnel serving overseas so they may take full advantage of the program when they return.  The act will also assist members of the military in selling homes that have declined in value by ensuring that certain payments under the Defense Housing Assistance Program are exempt from tax. Service members will no longer be required to repay the first-time homebuyer credit if they are deployed to a different location and, thus, forced to sell their homes within three years of buying it. 

The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act will help prevent delays in delivering veterans health care. This act requires that Congress approve investments in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care one year in advance and that the President request those funds one year in advance. This will guarantee reliable, timely funding for high quality medical care for our veterans. It will also allow the VA more time to deliver more care to a greater number of veterans with progressively more complex medical conditions.

“Keeping our promises to our country’s veterans is one of our top responsibilities,” said Congressman Himes. “We have an obligation to provide these men and women with quality medical care, and Congress should do all that it can to guarantee the best care is provided to them in a timely fashion.”