WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced three bills— the Crumbling Foundations Small Business and Homeowners Assistance Act, the Tax Assistance for Crumbling Foundations Act, and the Aid to Homeowners with Crumbling Foundations Act—to provide meaningful relief for homeowners and businesses in Connecticut with crumbling foundations. In addition to Blumenthal and Murphy, all three bills are cosponsored by U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

“For too long, many homeowners in eastern Connecticut have been trapped in dangerous homes with crumbling foundations. The financial and emotional toll these homeowners are facing – through no fault of their own – is unimaginable. I have been on a crusade to address this crisis and bring federal funds to those in need, and the legislation we’re introducing today would go a long way in helping these homeowners repair the damage caused by pyrrhotite. I hope my colleagues understand the urgency of this crisis,” said Murphy.

“Crumbling foundation victims still desperately deserve federal relief – and we’re determined to fight for it. This assistance will help relieve the financial and emotional burden of Connecticut homeowners and businesses repairing and replacing crumbling foundations. The need for support to victims of this tragedy – no fault of their own - is exacerbated by the lack of action by most insurance companies. If we work together collaboratively, we can provide long overdue additional financial relief,” said Blumenthal.

“Homeowners across Massachusetts and Connecticut are facing costly foundation repairs that they never could have anticipated. It’s imperative that the federal government support home and business owners as they deal with these difficult challenges facing their families and livelihoods,” said Markey.

The Crumbling Foundations Small Business and Homeowners Assistance Act, led by Blumenthal and co-sponsored by Murphy, Markey, and Warren would establish a grant program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to award funding up to $30 million annually over a five year period -- $150 million over five years. Grants would be available to states to reimburse affected owners of small businesses, condominium associations, and homeowners for work to prevent, repair and mitigate damage caused by concrete foundations containing pyrrhotite.

The Tax Assistance for Crumbling Foundations Act, led by Blumenthal and co-sponsored by Murphy, Markey, and Warren, with companion legislation in the House co-sponsored by Representatives Joe Courtney (CT-2), John Larson (CT-1), and Stephen Lynch (MA-8), would provide significant federal tax assistance to homeowners with crumbling foundations by restoring and extending the federal casualty loss tax deduction for crumbling foundations repair costs. Without legislative action, the deadline for taxpayers to take advantage of this federal tax assistance is May 17, 2021. The Tax Assistance for Crumbling Foundations Act would repeal the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Stafford Act Presidential disaster requirement, and would make benefits retroactive to December 31, 2017; extend the casualty loss deduction statute of limitations, allowing taxpayers to have an additional year to file their amended 2017 return; and require the Treasury Department to issue additional regulations consistent with the first Revenue Procedure (2017-60), which provides safe harbor to crumbling foundations repairs for the casualty loss deduction.

The Aid to Homeowners with Crumbling Foundations Act, led by Murphy and co-sponsored by Blumenthal, Markey, and Warren would provide $150 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to states like Connecticut that have created non-profit crumbling foundations assistance funds to repair damage to residential structures due to pyrrhotite.

Blumenthal, Murphy, Markey, and Warren successfully fought to secure $1.5 million in funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to conduct research on the effects of the mineral pyrrhotite on concrete aggregate. Last year, the University of Connecticut was awarded $768,000 in federal funding to support research that captures information on the premature degradation of concrete foundations that contain pyrrhotite, and seeks to build a risk assessment framework for identifying and evaluating potential mitigation strategies.