HR 1646, the Hearing Aid Tax Credit, attracted its 100th cosponsor just as the House of Representatives adjourned for its 5-week August recess, says the Hearing Industries Association (HIA), Washington. The milepost was reached in only 5 months after the bill was first introduced by Reps Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) and Vern Ehlers (R-Mich) in March 2009, says HIA. It took more than a year to reach the 100-cosponsor plateau in the last Congress (2007-2008). The bill has attracted bipartisan support from 66 Democratic and 34 Republican Representatives, including 14 members of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over all tax legislation, says HIA. 

In the Senate, Olympia Snowe (R-Me) has co-sponsored the Hearing Aid Tax Credit (S 1019), which is similar to HR 1646, although it provides a credit for people of all ages while the House bill covers only children and those 55 and older, says HIA. Snowe plans to champion the legislation along with Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). She is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which reviews all tax legislation, and she has cosponsored the hearing aid tax credit since 2005 when Norm Coleman (R-Minn) was the lead Senate sponsor, says HIA.  

Growing support for the hearing aid tax credit can be credited to the efforts of a broad coalition of groups representing people with hearing loss, parents of children with hearing loss, hearing health professionals, and hearing aid manufacturers, says HIA.

As part of this effort, HIA is sponsoring two constituent events during the August recess period to thank Representatives for their support of the legislation and to urge them to champion the bill in the coming months, says HIA.

The AG Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Nevada chapter is hosting a brunch for Rep Dina Titus (D-Nev) on Aug 22, and a coalition of groups including the Hearing Loss Association of Wisconsin, members of the International Hearing Society, and the American Academy of Audiology are coordinating a luncheon for Rep Ron Kind (D-Wis) on Aug 28.  Contact Andy Bopp at HIA for more details if you wish to attend or assist with these local efforts at [email protected].