March 8, 2001 - Issue: Vol. 147, No. 30 — Daily Edition107th Congress (2001 - 2002) - 1st Session
INTRODUCTION OF VETERANS AMERICAN DREAM HOMEOWNERSHIP ASSISTANCE ACT OF 2001; Congressional Record Vol. 147, No. 30
(Extensions of Remarks - March 08, 2001)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Pages E317-E318] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] INTRODUCTION OF VETERANS AMERICAN DREAM HOMEOWNERSHIP ASSISTANCE ACT OF 2001 ______ HON. GERALD D. KLECZKA of wisconsin in the house of representatives Thursday, March 8, 2001 Mr. KLECZKA. Mr. Speaker, thousands of former servicemen and servicewomen in five states are currently prohibited from receiving state-financed home mortgages. That is why Congressman Herger and I, along with seven of our colleagues, are introducing the Veterans American Dream Homeownership Assistance Act. This legislation is similar to bills we introduced in the 104th, 105th, and 106th Congresses. In order to help veterans own a home, Congress created a program where states could issue tax-exempt bonds in order to raise funds to finance mortgages for owner-occupied residences. Five states-- Wisconsin, Alaska, Oregon, California, and Texas--implemented such a program for their veterans. Under a little-known provision in the 1984 tax bill, Congress limited the veterans eligible for this program to those who began military service before 1977. As a result of the 1984 tax bill, veterans who entered military service after January 1, 1977 are prohibited from receiving a state- financed veterans mortgage. This means veterans who served honorably in Panama, Grenada, or the Gulf War cannot get veterans home mortgages from their state government. Are those who began serving our country after January 1, 1977 any less deserving than those who served before? This arbitrary cutoff was created to raise additional revenue in the 1984 tax bill by limiting the issuance of tax-exempt bonds. When this provision was enacted, post-1976 veterans were a small percentage of all veterans, without much voice to protest this discriminatory change. But, nineteen years later, there are thousands of veterans who have served our nation honorably. Mr. Speaker, as time goes by, this legislation takes on increasing importance. The State of Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs has informed me that if the cap on veterans bonds is not lifted this year, the State will be forced to disband the program because too few veterans are eligible for the program. This legislation would simply eliminate the cutoff that exists under current law. Under our proposal, former servicemen and servicewomen in the five states who served our country beginning before or after January 1, 1977 will be eligible to qualify for a state-financed home mortgage. This legislation does not increase federal discretionary spending by 1 cent. It simply allows the five states that [[Page E318]] have a mortgage finance program for their veterans to provide mortgages to all veterans regardless of when they served in the military. There is no justification to allow some veterans to qualify for a home mortgage while others cannot. Mr. Speaker, I urge the House to help those veterans who have served after January 1, 1977 to own a home and pass this important legislation into law. ____________________