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House OKs tax relief bill for Katrina victims

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] on Wednesday unanimously approved H.R. 3768 [bill summary], providing $6 billion in temporary tax relief aimed at helping people and organizations hit by Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive]. In particular, the legislation offers $500 tax credits for those providing temporary housing for Katrina victims and raises caps on charitable donations made to charities helping those affected by the hurricane. The bill also allows temporary withdrawals from retirement plans, ensures that tax credits for child care and debt are based on 2004 income and offers businesses tax credits for hiring victims of the hurricane. The legislation focuses on short-term relief for those affected by the disaster, with Congress expected to work on longer-term relief efforts over the coming months. The tax bill is expected to receive quick approval from the US Senate and President Bush. A major issue of contention in Congress remains how the government should finance the recovery for the Gulf region that is expected to cost in the billions. Democrats and Republicans have jousted over whether to cut existing programs, increase the deficit or raise taxes to cover the costs. Reuters has more.

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