Larson, Courtney Amendments to Support Residents with Crumbling Foundations Pass in the House
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01) and Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced three amendments they authored in support of support Connecticut residents impacted by crumbling foundations passed in the House of Representatives. The amendments were added to an omnibus appropriations bill to fund the federal government which passed the House today. These amendments represent the first time that a full chamber of Congress has passed measures related to crumbling foundations in Connecticut.
“These amendments set an important precedent that Congress understands the dire situation facing homeowners impacted by crumbling foundations and is willing to support action by the federal government to assist them. We are committed to pressing forward with these proposals and others as soon as we have another opportunity,” Larson and Courtney said.
“The crumbling foundations crisis in Connecticut is going to require an all-hands-on-deck response at the municipal, state, and federal level. No single bill or action is going to be able to fix this problem – it will require to an amalgamation of different solutions. We remain committed to pursuing every possible source of assistance at the federal level and that is why we met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin earlier this week.“
Summaries of the three related crumbling foundations amendments included in the omnibus appropriations measure:
· Community Development Block Grant: The amendment directs HUD to develop applications of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to pyrrhotite residential damage. In August 2016, HUD confirmed that it would be possible to apply CDBG grant funding to this problem. CDBG grants are largely managed through states, and this amendment would ease Connecticut’s formulation of a CDBG plan to assist homeowners affected by crumbling foundations.
· National Institute of Standards and Technology: The amendment directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to establish standards for acceptable levels of pyrrhotite in concrete aggregate, and to continue providing technical assistance to those interested in pyrrhotite detection, prevention, and mitigation tools. NIST, an agency within the Department of Commerce, has experts on staff with experience in concrete research. Earlier this year, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross responded to a letter sent by members of the Connecticut delegation saying that they would make NIST experts available to Connecticut for technical assistance.
· Internal Revenue Service: The amendment directs the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to develop a “revenue procedure” related to the deduction of casualty losses in homes experiencing damage over time due to pyrrhotite. On Monday, Courtney and Larson met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy David Kautter at the Department of the Treasury headquarters in Washington, D.C. to discuss such a revenue procedure -- a guidance document that, if approved, would allow homeowners to deduct foundation repair costs from their federal taxes, helping to reduce the cost of repairs to families. The Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Policy directs the issuance of these documents, which are then prepared by the IRS.
All three of the amendments were passed unanimously by voice vote during floor debate on the omnibus appropriations measure.