Congressman Faleomavaega announced that after 11:00 pm on the night of November 15, 2005 the House Ways and Means Committee passed by a vote of 24-15 the Chairman’s Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 4297, the Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act of 2005. Only 27 provisions were included including one to extend IRS section 936 tax credits to American Samoa for an additional year.
“As I reported last week, Chairman Thomas introduced H.R. 4297 last Thursday November 10, 2005 and, at that time, included a provision to extend 936 tax credits to American Samoa for an additional year until a more long term solution could be worked out,” Faleomavaega said. “While there are 440 members of the US Congress and many of them made requests to be included in the Chairman’s bill, most requests were denied.”
“Furthermore, on Tuesday November 15, 2005, the Chairman revised H.R. 4297 and cut out 9 other provisions. However, as promised, Chairman Thomas kept American Samoa’s provision in place and included it in his revised bill which was introduced and marked up yesterday. The markup began at 7:00 pm and concluded just before midnight.”
“Most expiring tax provisions were only extended for one-year and no other Territory was included in the Chairman’s bill. In other words, 936 tax credits for Guam, the Northern Marianas and Puerto Rico will expire at the end of this year with no extension in place.”
“My good friend, Congressman Jerry Weller of Illinois, a Republican member of the Ways and Means Committee, spoke out at last night’s mark-up in support of American Samoa and our tuna industry. While I thanked him at the mark-up, I want to again express my appreciation to him for standing with the people of American Samoa and for working with us to save the jobs of over 5,000 workers and to protect the economy for future generations.”
“I especially thank Chairman Thomas for his unwavering support. The Chairman’s bill had to comply with the Budget Resolution which was introduced earlier this year which means that the tax breaks offered by this bill could not exceed a certain limitation. The Chairman’s bill reduces revenue by approximately $60 billion and given that our Nation is at war and still paying to help the victims of Katrina the federal government is trying to control spending and decrease revenue lost by excessive tax breaks.”
“For this reason, most tax extensions were only granted for one year until such time that we can revisit the budgetary crisis that now faces our Nation. Again, I am deeply appreciative of Chairman Thomas’ support of American Samoa even at a time of budgetary constraints. As far as I am concerned, Chairman Thomas is one of our truest friends.”
“I also thank Ranking Member Rangel and the Democratic members of the Ways and Means Committee for their support of American Samoa’s inclusion in the Chairman’s bill. Chairman Thomas and Ranking Member Rangel brought together both parties in support of extending 936 tax credits for American Samoa for an additional year knowing that many US corporations have abused 936 tax credits.”
“The Chairman and Ranking Member did this because they know that American Samoa needs these tax credits until such time as Congress can act to put a better tax program in place for the insular possessions. Again, 936 tax credits are expiring at the end of this year for all other insular possessions except American Samoa. For American Samoa, 936 tax credits will be extended for an additional year.”
“Next year, Congress will begin the process of working out an alternative to section 936 for American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands and, as this effort gets underway, I will be working with the Ways and Means Committee on a more long-term solution which will provide for our canneries and also offer tax credits for new businesses willing to invest in American Samoa.”
“This said, the Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act of 2005 will now move to the House Floor for consideration and it is anticipated that this will occur on Friday of this week. To date, the Senate Finance Committee did not include American Samoa in its mark but I have reached out to key Republican members of the Senate Finance committee and I am hopeful that they will vote with us during conference. I will continue to provide our people with updates as this important matter progresses,” the Congressman concluded.