Several pieces of legislation aimed at helping the victims of the earthquake in Haiti have quickly cleared the U.S. Senate and Senator Dick Lugar has taken a key role in cosponsoring them.
“The Haiti earthquake has personally touched each one of us as we try to discern the best way to channel the assistance from those who want to help. This will be a long and difficult recovery and Americans will endure in their support. We have already seen remarkable generosity in stories of adoptions, volunteers and unique efforts to communicate with people. The Senate stands ready to provide our support to individuals, institutions and governments who want to assist,” Lugar said.
Last night, the Senate unanimously passed two Lugar cosponsored bills.
H.R. 4462 will accelerate income tax benefits for charitable cash contributions for the relief of victims of the earthquake in Haiti. It is similar to 2005 legislation to encourage Indian Ocean tsunami relief donations and allows taxpayers to deduct cash donations made to Haiti relief efforts on their 2009 tax filings. Having already passed the House of Representatives, the bill goes to the president for his signature.
S. Res. 392 expresses the sense of the Senate on the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the earthquake in Haiti.
Next week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on Haiti, focusing on recovery and reconstruction. Lugar is the Ranking Member on the Committee.
Lugar is also working with Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) to draft legislation that will help speed Haiti’s recovery by instructing the Secretary of the Treasury to work with other nations to relieve Haiti of its outstanding debt with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), including debt incurred through the end of 2011. This legislation will also help spur economic activity in Haiti by promoting trade between the United States and Haiti.
Last week, Lugar called for Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for 18 months to Haitian immigrants and visa parole for Haitian children that are in the midst of adoption proceedings with American parents. Lugar commended the Secretary of Homeland Security’s quick decision to grant both provisions.