Tags: mccotter | pets | taxes

GOP's McCotter Pushes Pet Care Tax Breaks

Tuesday, 25 Aug 2009 03:12 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Rep. Thaddeus McCotter tells Newsmax about a bill he is sponsoring that would provide Americans with a tax deduction for the cost of caring for a pet in these difficult economic times.

The Michigan Republican also declared that that healthcare reform plan being promoted by President Barack Obama is "so repugnant" that even some Democrats can't support it.

Rep. McCotter, who represents a Detroit-area district, introduced the HAPPY (Humanity and Pets Partnered Through the Years) Act on July 31. It would allow taxpayers to take a deduction of up to $3,500 a year for "qualified pet care expenses," including veterinary care. It is now in committee.

See Video: Rep. Thaddeus McCotter talks about his tax break for the care of pets - Click Here Now

Newsmax.TV's Kathleen Walter asked McCotter — a member of the Committee on Financial Services — why he is sponsoring the bill.

"We introduced it because we've been noticing that pet adoptions were down from shelters and the inflow of pets from their owners to shelters due to the recession was increasing," he said.

"And so people suggested a tax [deduction] for those expenses related to owning a pet.

"Obviously with healthcare going on that's going to be the primary debate, but when that debate is settled one way or the other and we begin to look at other options for helping people in a difficult time, I hope this is one of them."

Walter noted that critics have called the bill "silly" in light of all the other pressing matters facing Congress today, including healthcare and unemployment.

"Those voices are always out there," said McCotter, who was first elected to the House in 2002.

"They seem to think that Congress can only do one thing at a time. It's a typical canard where there are those people, on the left especially, that will be very unhappy with the Republicans trying to introduce a humane piece of legislation that allows people and pets to partner through the years and receive tax help to do it.

"What we're trying to do is to find a way where people, especially younger people, don't have to sacrifice a pet due to the economic recession by turning it in to a shelter … and to encourage adoptions."

Turning to the healthcare reform plan, Walter noted that an increasing number of Democrats are saying that the public option for healthcare insurance has to go.

"It's an internal Democratic debate," McCotter responded.

"They went it alone from the beginning. They put forward a bill that was so repugnant due to the lack of private options for people, and with the public option, that even Democrats couldn't support it."

Asked what his biggest concerns are about the reform plan, McCotter told Newsmax: "As the president prior to his election has stated, and people such as Barney Frank in a moment of candor has admitted, they view this as a step toward single-payer [healthcare] down the road, toward government-run healthcare. I think everyone is concerned about the rationing aspects of it."

As for President Obama's charge that there is a Republican "conspiracy" to kill healthcare reform, McCotter said: "I think what the president has to understand is that this is the public's opposition to this bill. It is his own party members' opposition to this bill that is the problem.

"And I think it is time to stop campaigning and start governing in a responsible fashion."

See Video: Rep. Thaddeus McCotter talks about his tax break for the care of pets - Click Here Now

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