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Letter Calling for Passage of H.R. 1, the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009"

Thursday, February 5, 2009 - 7:00pm

February 6, 2009

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:

With the U.S. economy continuing to deteriorate, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls on the Senate to approve without delay H.R. 1, the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009." The legislation is not perfect—parts of the bill should be modified or eliminated. However, the Chamber urges the Senate to approve H.R. 1, and encourages Congress and the Administration to work on a conference report that provides timely, targeted, and temporary economic stimulus.

The Chamber supports pro-growth tax initiatives in the bill. In particular, the Chamber strongly supports provisions that would: extend the net operating loss (NOL) carryback period; provide for bonus depreciation and allow a refundable alternative minimum tax (AMT) credit in lieu of bonus depreciation; extend small business expensing; extend AMT relief; and provide a housing credit. The Chamber also supports provisions to extend the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.

In addition, the Chamber strongly supports the Reid-Conrad-Ensign proposal on cancellation of indebtedness (COI). The Chamber applauds the inclusion of tax relief for companies that purchase their own or related party debt at a discount by providing relief from the current COI rules. This important provision applies to all restructurings, including debt-for debt, equity-for-debt, cashfor- debt, and similar exchanges. This provision helps preserve jobs, facilitates the deleveraging of the U.S. economy, and strengthens financial institutions' balance sheets.

Moreover, many of the spending-side provisions of the legislation will also provide stimulus and get Americans back to work. Of note, the Chamber strongly supports provisions to increase infrastructure spending. Shrinking state budgets and the tightening credit market are leaving many planned projects without direct funding or financing. The already massive backlog of maintenance on America's roads, rails, public transportation systems, aviation facilities, and inland waterways and ports is growing. Greater transportation investment is necessary to preserve and create jobs in the short-term and provide long-term economic benefits by helping improve the movement of people and goods.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, urges the Senate to approve H.R. 1. The Chamber looks forward to working with the Senate, House and Administration to accomplish meaningful economic stimulus legislation that can be signed into law in the coming days.

Sincerely,

R. Bruce Josten