Reps. Dina Titus (D-NV) and Ron Kind (D-WI) indicated their support for hearing health issues and the Hearing Aid Tax Credit (H.R. 1646) during events hosted by local Hearing Loss Assn of America (HLAA) and AG Bell Assn for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) chapters during the August Congressional recess. A record crowd of 200 Nevadans attended a brunch for Rep. Titus in Henderson, NV on Aug. 22, and 120 Wisconsin residents attended a luncheon for Rep. Kind in La Crosse, WI on Aug. 28. Both event venues were filled to maximum capacity attendance.
Rep. Titus and children of AG Bell-NV members
The event goers urged their Representatives to champion the bill as part of major health or tax reform legislation that will be before Congress in the coming months. The Henderson event was hosted by the Nevada AG Bell chapter (AG Bell-NV), and the La Crosse event was hosted by the Wisconsin HLAA chapter (HLA-WI) and AG Bell with support from members of the International Hearing Society (IHS) and the American Academy of Audiology (AAA). Both events were sponsored by Hearing Industries Association (HIA).
During the programs, several local residents with hearing loss described the effectiveness of their hearing aids and emphasized the difficulties related to the lack of financial assistance when seeking hearing aid treatment. They identified passage of the Hearing Aid Tax Credit as critical to their ability to access the hearing assistance technology they rely on in their daily lives.
Speaking to the audience, Rep. Kind identified passage of the tax credit as a worthy goal, stating "I would love to be able to get it done as soon as possible." Rep. Kind is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee which has jurisdiction over all tax legislation including H.R. 1646.
Rep. Kind with Andy Bopp, HIA and La Crosse residents
His freshman colleague, Rep. Dina Titus, stated that she was very proud to co-sponsor the tax credit and said she would work towards passage of the bill. AG Bell-NV hosted a similar program last year for Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), also a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Speaking during the Rep. Titus event, seven year old Samuel Grant of Henderson, NV said, "My hearing aids are very important to me. They help me hear and understand what people say. If I did not have them, I think I would fail in school. I do not want that to happen. I am proud to have my hearing aids."
In La Crosse, Wisconsin, Mary Jane Griffin of Eau Claire echoed this sentiment, "I need hearing aids to hear my family members, I need hearing aids to socialize, I need hearing aids to hear birds and to listen to music and I really would appreciate the Hearing Aid Tax Credit. It would financially help my family, my husband and I, since both of us wear hearing aids."
The events were the latest in a series of grassroots initiatives in support of the Hearing Aid Tax Credit sponsored by HIA in partnership with HLAA, AG Bell and IHS. Other successful events have been held in California, Michigan, Texas, and Pennsylvania.
The Hearing Aid Tax Credit currently has 100 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, including 14 members of the Ways and Means Committee, and 5 co-sponsors in the U.S. Senate. Visit www.hearingaidtaxcredit.org to learn more.