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Head of House panel seeks tax relief for hurricane victims

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the House's tax-writing committee is putting forward legislation to give temporary tax relief to victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

The bill proposed Friday by Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, would ease requirements for deducting individual property losses and allow people to draw on their retirement funds without penalty. The legislation also seeks to encourage people around the U.S. to donate to hurricane relief efforts by temporarily suspending limits on deductions for charitable contributions.

Brady said he plans to formally introduce the bill on Monday. It "helps hurricane victims keep more of their paycheck, deduct more of the cost of their expensive property damage, and have more affordable and immediate access to money they have saved for their retirement," he said in a statement. "These tax relief measures will help more people be able to bear the tremendous expense of recovering from these destructive hurricanes."

Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida, a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee and co-chair of the state's congressional delegation, called Brady's legislation "a positive first step on the road to recovery."

"Immediate tax relief is crucial to help Floridians rebuild and get back on their feet," Buchanan said in a statement.

Lawmakers have promised to get federal funding for the victims of the three devastating hurricanes, in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and other parts of the country.

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