Washington, DC -- U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) today introduced the First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account Act (H.R. 5575) along with U.S. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) and U.S. Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA). The act would amend the federal tax code to create 529-style savings accounts for first time homebuyers. The goal is to take the highly successful 529 plan model, which provides parents a tax-advantaged means to save for their children’s college education, and apply it to another area where savings are equally important: buying a first home.
“The American dream of home ownership is getting harder and harder to attain for those starting out on their own these days because of the challenges involved in saving up for the down payment.” said Coffman. “The First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account Act is a straightforward and bipartisan solution to this problem.”
Coffman’s Congressional district, Colorado’s 6th, is an example of the difficulties young people currently face saving for a down payment. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, the 6th Congressional district is rated as in a ‘renters’ crisis, meaning that half of all renters in the district spend at least 30% of their income on rent. In fact the situation in the district is arguably even more serious because 25.9% of renters in the 6th district spend half of their income on housing. With such high rents, saving for a down payment just can seem impossible. This is a factor in why, according to the Commerce Department, in the second quarter of 2015, homeownership rates hit its lowest level since 1967.
Coffman’s introduced this bill as part of his ongoing efforts to help first-time homebuyers. Earlier this year, Coffman introduced another bipartisan bill with Maloney, which allows first-time homebuyers to draw some money from their IRA accounts for a down payment.
Seeking additional ideas to help homebuyers, Coffman saw the Colorado legislature pass its version of the First-Time Homebuyer Saving Account Act, which was signed into law in Colorado earlier this month, and is similar to laws enacted in Virginia and Montana. Seeing another good idea to encourage home ownership, Coffman decided to introduce the bill at the federal level because state laws can only provide for tax-advantaged savings from state taxes, and federal tax rates are much higher.
Coffman’s bill will allow individuals to deposit up to $14,000 per year and married couples filing jointly up to double that amount per year, after taxes, into a first-time homebuyer account with a maximum lifetime investment of $50,000. The investment can grow up to $150,000 tax-free and there is no time limit on how long the funds may remain in the account. All limits are adjustable for inflation. The account is only available for use to make the down payment and pay the other fees and costs associated with the purchase of a first home.
The designee of the account can be the account holder or any designated beneficiary and can be modified at anytime. Additionally, the bill includes a provision that allows divorcees who were previous co-owners on a principal residence, to use the funds in a first-time homebuyer savings account after a three-year waiting period.
“High rents, student loans and a changing economy have made it harder for my neighbors in the Hudson Valley – especially young people – to buy their first home,” said Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY). “Buying a home is one of the most critical tools for lifting folks into the middle class and keeping them there, so I’m thrilled to introduce bipartisan legislation to empower first time home buyers and give them a fair shot at the American dream.”
“This smart, bipartisan legislation will help young families in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District purchase their first home,” said Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA). “With many young Americans living paycheck to paycheck, the First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account Act will bring a policy we already have in Virginia to the national stage by creating a 529-style savings account so families can afford the down payment and other associated fees when they buy their first home.”
“Home affordability in Colorado and many other states has been declining recently as real estate prices rise at a faster rate than income," said 2016 Colorado Association of Realtors Chairman, Alan Lovitt. “We believe that savings accounts that help buyers put money away for a down payment, closing costs and other expenses associated with buying your first home are a great step toward solving this problem.” Lovitt further stated, "despite all of the positive conditions and elements of homeownership across the country, affordability for first time homeowners continues to be a significant barrier for too many states’ residents. This bill would help provide a very important financial savings resource for many people to achieve their dream of homeownership. We applaud and support Congressman Coffman's efforts to address this vital issue."
“Potential homebuyers are up against a lot when trying to save for a down payment,” said National Association of Realtors® President Tom Salomone. “Many already face a significant debt burden, and with home prices on the rise, people need every opportunity to put aside a little extra money. Creating a tax free First-Time Homebuyer Account is a smart approach to empowering more potential buyers with the tools to overcome those challenges and achieve the dream of homeownership. The National Association of Realtors® supports this legislation and thanks Congressman Mike Coffman for introducing it in the House of Representatives.”
Washington, DC – U.S. Representatives Mike Coffman (CO-6), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Fred Upton (MI-6), Dan Newhouse (WA-4), David Valadao (CA-21), Jeff Denham (CA-10), and Bob Dold (IL-10) released the following statement after the United States Supreme Court ruled 4-4 in the United States vs. Texas case.
“The Supreme Court has spoken but today's decision does not resolve the issue. The American people expect Congress to work together to secure our borders, adhere to the rule of law, offer a humane solution to those living in the shadows, modernize our visa system, and bolster the economy. We are committed to fixing our broken immigration system once and for all."
Washington, DC -- U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO), along with U.S. Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), introduced the Recognizing American Children Act that if enacted, will provide legal status and a path to Lawful Permanent Resident status for those currently eligible under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“They were brought here as children, grew up here, went to school here, and often don’t know of any other country as home except this one,” Coffman said. “If they can demonstrate their commitment to keeping a job or getting an education, they ought to be able to earn a path to becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident and those who serve honorably in the military deserve a direct path to citizenship.”
The Recognizing American Children Act gives immigrant children, who arrived in the United States before the age of 16, obtained a high school diploma or the equivalent, and have maintained residence in the U.S. for at least the previous five consecutive years the opportunity to earn conditional non-immigrant status for five years if he or she meets one of the following requirements:
After five years, if the individual has demonstrated an ongoing ability to meet the criteria, the Secretary of Homeland Security may extend a non-immigrant status for an additional five years. Should that person continue to contribute as a productive member of society after the additional five-year extension through work, education, or military service then he or she may apply for Lawful Permanent Resident status.
If, however, an individual fails to demonstrate that he or she can successfully meet at least one of these criteria, he or she will not be eligible to receive a non-immigrant status.
“This is just one step out of many necessary to fix our broken immigration system,” Coffman continued. "We still must secure our borders and have immigration policies that will grow our economy and that are compassionate in keeping families together.”
“There are many young immigrants in our country who came involuntarily with their families as minors. They have grown up with our own kids and attended American schools - many speaking only English. Today they are trying to make a contribution to our great nation through the economy or the military. These are undoubtedly America’s children. This legislation recognizes them as such by giving them the opportunity to adjust their status. In a season when some are accentuating our differences for personal political gain, our country should come together to support these hard working young people who have earned their place in America,” said Curbelo.
The Recognizing American Children Act does not apply to newly arrived Central American children seeking refugee status under the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.
Washington, DC -- U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) presented Eric Zhang of Highlands Ranch with the Congressional Gold Medal Award at a ceremony in Washington, DC today.
Zhang earned his Congressional Gold Medal by performing over 400 hours of service at the Brookdale Highlands Ranch Nursing Home and at Project Cure, an international medical resource center. Zhang met his personal development goal by learning more about art and improving his piano-playing skills. Zhang joined his school’s swim team and improved his swimming skills by practicing every day. Finally, for his expedition, Zhang went to the 9/11 memorial and museum to gain a better understanding of the attacks.
Zhang was awarded the Congressional Silver Medal earlier this year at a presentation at Coffman’s Colorado office. He has since met the requirements for the Congressional Gold Medal.
“Eric didn’t just win the Congressional Gold Medal, he earned it,” Coffman said. “Eric’s demonstrated dedication to improving his community and himself are a shining example to all citizens of the sixth district. I am pleased to present him with such a distinguished award.”
“My activities for the Congressional Award made me step out of my comfort zone and explore new things,” Zhang said. “Interacting with diverse groups of people has helped me to understand my roles in society. “
The Congressional Award was established in 1979 as a bipartisan and public-private partnership that recognizes initiative, achievement, and service in young people. To earn the Bronze, Silver, or Gold Congressional Medal, each participant sets and achieves goals in four key areas: Voluntary public service, personal achievement, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration. The participants set out to achieve these goals along with the help of their parents, teachers, club leaders, and other adult volunteers to provide mentorship and encouragement along the way.
Congressional Award Gold Medalists have contributed over 400 hours of voluntary service, 200 hours of personal development and physical fitness hours respectively and a four consecutive night expedition or exploration to earn this honor. Youth between the ages of 13 1Ž2 to 23 years old can work toward the Congressional Award, regardless of GPA, socioeconomic status, and physical or mental handicap.
Washington, DC -- U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06) issued the following statement on Veterans Affairs Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson’s visit to the Aurora VA hospital construction site yesterday:
“Mr. Gibson’s decision to not release to the public the results of the Administrative Investigation Board’s finding and conclusions regarding the VA’s complete and utter mismanagement of the Aurora VA hospital construction project is outrageous. Taxpayers and veterans alike deserve to know the truth about how this project ended up with over a billion dollars in cost overruns and a three year delay of its completion,” U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06) said. “It's nice that Mr. Gibson is visiting Colorado, but even better that the VA is no longer in charge of its construction. With the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers now overseeing the project, I am confident that we have seen the end of the cost overruns and schedule delays. I called for the release of this report in late March and I call for it again today. American taxpayers and veterans are entitled to VA’s detailed explanation as to how this project went so disastrously off course.”
A Colorado congressman is criticizing the Veterans Affairs Department for refusing to release a report on its internal investigation into huge cost overruns at a VA medical center under construction in Aurora.
Republican Rep. Mike Coffman said Thursday that withholding the report is “outrageous.”
Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said Wednesday that releasing the report would make it difficult to conduct future internal reviews.
The hospital in suburban Aurora is now expected to cost $1.7 billion, nearly triple the VA’s 2014 estimate. Investigators blamed multiple design changes and the use of a complicated contract process that VA officials didn’t fully understand.
Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter says releasing the report might be helpful, but it’s more important for the VA to learn from the mistakes and prevent a repeat.Read More
Washington, DC -- U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06) today introduced the Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Procurement Efficiency and Transparency Act, a bill which would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to uniformly track cost savings in its contracting competitions and ensure the use of standardized contracting procedures.
“The VA has wasted billions of dollars due to bureaucratic incompetence and an inability to follow existing procurement rules,” said Coffman, Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. “The billions wasted could have gone towards the care and benefits for our veterans. My proposal is a first step towards stopping the waste by streamlining and modernizing the VA procurement process.”
Currently, VA procurement officials measure savings using inconsistent local policies and disorganized templates, leading to inaccurate contracting data and to inefficient and costly procurement results.
Coffman, as Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, recently held a series of hearings during the 114th Congress examining VA’s flawed procurement processes, identifying billions of dollars worth of fraud, waste, and abuse.
At a June 2016 hearing reviewing VA’s academic affiliations with university hospitals, the committee received testimony on the importance of consistently using template contracts when procuring medical services for veterans from these affiliated hospitals. Negotiating these contracts from scratch, rather than using standardized contracts has caused some agreements to take as long as three years to finalize, while veterans wait to receive timely healthcare.
In March 2015, Jan Frye, VA’s Senior Procurement Executive, sent a memo addressed to VA Secretary Robert McDonald accusing the agency of spending at least $6 billion a year in improper and unauthorized procurement expenditures.
In testimony given at a May 2015 House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing, Frye followed up by saying, “Over the past five years, some senior VA acquisition and finance officials have willfully violated the public trust while Federal procurement and financial laws were debased. Their overt actions and dereliction of duties combined have resulted in billions of taxpayer dollars being spent without regard to Federal laws and regulations, making a mockery of Federal Statutes.”
“We owe the passage of this legislation to the men and women who have made tremendous sacrifices serving our country and to the taxpayers that are footing the bill,” Coffman said.
Coffman is a Marine Corps combat veteran with a combined 21 years of military service. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee and House Veteran’s Affairs Committee, where he is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
The deputy secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department was back in Colorado on Wednesday to meet with contractors to check on the progress of the still unfinished VA hospital in Aurora.
The mental health clinic at the hospital is already taking patients, but Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson wouldn’t say when the rest of the hospital will be open for business.
If all goes as planned construction should be done in January of 2018, but if the past is any indication, it doesn’t always go as planned.
“I’m blown away by progress that I’ve seen,” Gibson said at a news conference at the hospital.
Gibson issued his latest — and most optimistic — progress report on the hospital years overdue and a billion dollars over budget.
“As you walk around the site it’s like a beehive,” Gibson said. “You can feel the energy around the project.”
It’s a project plagued by mismanagement that at one point resulted in a lawsuit by the contractor and a complete shutdown of construction.
“Some of the things that have been done, organized and executed by the (Army Corps of Engineers) and Kiewit Turner with some support from the VA staff here are really, really showing up in project both in terms of timelines and quality and schedule as well,” Gibson said.
But he stopped short of announcing a grand opening.
“I’m not going to speculate.”
He also wouldn’t promise the price — triple the original estimate — wouldn’t go up further.
“We have no indication at this point that we’re going to need additional funding. It’s a big project,” Gibson said. “This is a very complex project and I think the guys from the Corp of Engineers would tell you there are no guarantees.”
“What I’m seeing here is that attitudes have changed,” said Ralph Bozella with the United Veterans Committee of Colorado.
Bozella has been pushing for the new hospital for 15 years.
“We went through a lot dark times here,” he said.
He says there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.
The inspector general is completing its final review of what went wrong and will make its findings public. But the VA will not release the findings of its own administrative investigation, which U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman has pushed it to do. Gibson says it would have a chilling effect on future investigations.Read More
Aurora, CO -- U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06) received the Distinguished Service Award last weekend from the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH). The award recognizes Coffman for his dedication and support for America’s combat wounded veterans and their families.
Coffman received the award when he delivered a keynote address to over 100 Purple Heart recipients and their spouses at MOPH’s annual Colorado State Convention in Golden, CO on Saturday.
“The opportunity to address veterans who have sacrificed so much for our freedom is enough of an honor, but I am also truly humbled to have received such a distinguished award from the Military Order of the Purple Heart,” said Coffman, a Marine Corps combat veteran. “We, as a nation, should never forget the sacrifice that service members wounded in combat have made for our nation."
The MOPH’s mission is to foster an environment of goodwill and camaraderie among combat wounded veterans, promote patriotism, support necessary legislative initiatives, and provide service to all veterans and their families.
“I, on behalf of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Department of Colorado and our membership would like to extend our appreciation to Congressman Coffman for his remarks made to the members and Ladies Auxiliary in attendance,” said Jeff Birdwell, the Colorado state Commander for the Military Order of the Purple Heart. “Congressman Coffman has been and will continue to be a strong advocate for Veterans and their families. We appreciate his support and efforts concerning the Nation’s veterans.”
Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., has launched a bipartisan push to broaden the refundable earned income tax credit, as Speaker Paul D. Ryan pivots Tuesday to a new GOP messaging agenda on reducing poverty.
Coffman vowed to press for action on his bill (HR 4946) that he says would provide a boost to low-income families and stand as a GOP alternative to Democratic proposals aimed at raising the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
"This is a good way for the federal government to help low-wage workers," Coffman told CQ on Monday.
He said in the interview that he was concerned Ryan and GOP leaders want to deal with an EITC expansion in a tax overhaul next year, rather than moving a rifle-shot bill this year.
"I'm going to push it as a standalone measure. We've been holding our breath for a long time on comprehensive tax reform. I want to keep focus on this important issue so it is not lost," Coffman said.
His proposal would lower the minimum age required to claim the EITC from 25 to 21 for all eligible workers and would allow more benefits to flow to single workers without children. It also would change the phase-in and phase-out provisions for the EITC, so that the benefit grows more quickly, and then shrinks more quickly as earnings approach an income cap.
The new bipartisan effort to widen the EITC coincides with Ryan’s planned unveiling on Tuesday in Washington's Anacostia neighborhood of an anti-poverty agenda — the first component of a 2016 House GOP campaign agenda. Although Ryan has been a champion for expanding the EITC in a way that resembles the Coffman bill, the Wisconsin Republican is not expected to emphasize such tax incentives this week, but will focus instead on proposals aimed at streamlining entitlements and social services for low-income families.
Both parties have voiced general support for expanding the EITC, while disagreeing over how to pay for it.
President Barack Obama has called for ending some tax breaks for the wealthy, including those on the carried-interest stakes of investment fund managers in portfolio assets. Republicans have called for anti-fraud measures that would raise revenue by scaling back some tax breaks claimed on behalf of low-income families.
The battle over offsets mirrors a broader dispute over taxes, with Democrats arguing for higher taxes on wealthy taxpayers like those contained in the fiscal cliff deal (PL 112-225) and Republicans seeking across-the-board rate cuts.
While Ryan and other Republicans have backed modest increases in the EITC, Democrats also have supported more ambitious proposals to broaden the tax incentive, including a bill (S 1012) by Sen. Sherrod Brown, R-Ohio. But with no accord on pay fors, both sides have lost traction on efforts to work out a compromise.
Coffman said he hoped his bill could help to settle the impasse with several provisions that would raise an estimated $3.7 billion over 10 years, based on a recent Joint Committee on Taxation estimate. These provisions include a requirement for a certification — by a lawyer, social worker or other third party — that a child cited on a tax return lives with a taxpayer who is claiming the EITC.
Supporters say the measure would raise additional revenue with two other steps: by cutting off EITC benefits for five years — up from the current two years — as punishment for improper claims based on reckless or intentional disregard of the rules and by requiring a taxpayer to provide a Social Security number to claim the additional child tax credit.
Chuck Marr, federal tax policy director for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank, praised Coffman for trying to jump start stalled talks. “There is a bipartisan recognition and a determination that this is the next step on the EITC,” Marr said.
But Marr also said lawmakers should let a number of so-called anti-fraud measures in the omnibus spending and tax law (PL 114-113) take full effect rather than enacting new mandates like those in the Coffman bill. The Coffman proposals could have the effect of denying needed benefits to U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants, he said.
While Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party press for an increase in the minimum wage to help low- and moderate-income families, Coffman says his bill would offer another pathway to help low-income workers.
Like many Republicans, Coffman has cited concerns about potential job losses as he opposes any increase in the federal minimum wage. For example, a Congressional Budget Office study in February 2014 found an increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could lift 900,000 workers out of poverty, but might also trigger the loss of as many as 500,000 jobs.
By contrast, Coffman said his bill “will increase assistance for low-wage workers without causing job losses. . . . Standing up for low-wage workers is not a partisan issue, but it’s an issue we can all support.”Read More
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Mike Coffman began his distinguished career of serving our nation at a very young age. At age seventeen, after finishing his junior year at Aurora Central High School in 1972, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. Through the Army, Coffman was able to earn a high school diploma. In 1974, he left active duty to attend the University of Colorado under the G.I. Bill where he continued his military career by serving in the U.S. Army Reserve. Coffman took a leave of absence from the U.S. Army Reserve and the University of Colorado to attend D.G. Vaishnav College in Chennai, India in 1976 and the University of Veracruz in Xalapa, Mexico in 1977. Coffman graduated from the University of Colorado in 1979 and immediately transferred from the U.S. Army Reserve to the U.S. Marine Corps where he served as an infantry officer.
In 1983, Coffman came back home to Colorado and started a small business, an Aurora-based property management company, that would grow to over 20 employees. He remained the senior share holder of the firm for the next seventeen years until selling his interest in 2000. While in business, he continued serving in the military by joining the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.
In his role as a Colorado small business owner, Coffman saw the need to bring more common sense pro-growth economic policies to state government so he ran and was elected to the State House of Representatives in 1988 and re-elected in 1990. Shortly after his 1990 re-election, Coffman took an unpaid leave of absence from the state legislature and volunteered to return to active duty for the first Gulf War where he served as the executive officer for a light armored infantry company. The battalion that Coffman served in was ordered to attack and defend positions inside of Kuwait, for three consecutive days prior to the main ground attack, as part of a deception and reconnaissance-by-fire operation. Coffman retired from the military in 1994 after having served for seven years between the U.S. Army and the Army Reserve and thirteen years between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve.
In 1994, Coffman was elected to the State Senate where he served as the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. While in the State Senate, he completed the Senior Executive Program for State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 1998, Coffman was elected to the office of State Treasurer and re-elected in 2002. In 2005, the U.S. Marine Corps was under strength in meeting their requirements for the Iraq War and begun to extend Marines beyond their active duty enlistments, recall Marines recently released from active duty, and selectively reach out to retired Marines and request their return to active duty. Coffman resigned his position as the State Treasurer and volunteered to return to the U.S. Marine Corps for an assignment in Iraq. In Iraq, Coffman was a civil affairs officer where he worked in support of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq (IECI) in 2005 and in 2006 he was reassigned to help establish interim local governments in the Western Euphrates River Valley.
In 2006, Coffman came home after completing a full tour of duty in Iraq and was appointed by Governor Bill Owens to serve out the remainder of his term as the State Treasurer. In that same year, he ran and was elected to the Office of Secretary of State and served in that capacity until he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008.
Coffman is the only veteran in the Colorado delegation and the only Member of Congress to have served in both the first Gulf War and in the Iraq War. Congressman Coffman represents the 6th Congressional District of Colorado and serves on the Armed Services Committee, the Veteran’s Affairs Committee where he is the Chairman for the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and on the House Committee on Small Business.
Coffman and his wife Cynthia were married in 2005 just before he deployed to Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps. Cynthia Coffman was the Chief Legal Counsel to Governor Bill Owens before becoming the Chief Deputy Attorney General for the State of Colorado under Attorney General John Suthers. Coffman attends Faith Presbyterian Church in Aurora with his eighty year-old mother, Dorothy Coffman.
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U.S. Representative Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) today introduced the First-Time Homebuyer Savings Account Act... https://t.co/hU2yJwuIos
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COREALTORS: U.S. Representative Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) today introduced the First-Time Homebuyer Savings … https://t.co/nojcf4ZHRh
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READ → The American dream of home ownership is getting harder and harder to attain for those starting out on their own because of the challenges
Had the opportunity to congratulate Rocky Heights Middle School's principal and staff for being named a "School to Watch" - a recognition awarded
READ → I joined the entire Colorado delegation in offering our strongest support for basing the F-35 at Buckley Air Force Base.
Many thanks to Colonel Kenneth Chavez of the Colorado Army National Guard for presenting me with this American flag, which was flown over the
Great to discuss workforce needs with Terracare Associates, Colorado Refugee Services Program, African Community Center of Denver, Asian Pacific