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Congress works to return nation to business

By Kate Snow

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Congress has passed some weighty legislation since the September 11 attacks, designed to bail out the airline industry, support the use of force and revitalize the entire economy.

Lawmakers have also introduced many other bills, which while smaller in scope, have an equally important purpose -- encourage the nation to heal and resume a sense of normality.

One idea would encourage Americans to travel again by giving them a tax credit. All taxpayers would have to do is prove they went more than 100 miles away from home for fun.

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"As long as you pay for the travel, the hotel accommodations, the train or plane ticket or whatever it might be before December 31, you will be able to take on this year's taxes, a credit," said Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona.

It's similar to an idea proposed by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York. The "I Love New York" tax credit works about the same way, except you have to visit New York City to get the credit.

"What better way to send your regards to Broadway and to New York than by coming to New York and getting a tax deduction for it and supporting our city, helping us get back on our feet," Maloney said.

To spur tourism and help the victims of the attack, one bill would give their families, survivors and police, fire and rescue personnel free admission to national parks.

There is legislation directing the Treasury Department to sell savings bonds with patriotic labels, like war bonds, victory bonds and unity bonds.

Other lawmakers want a commemorative coin or commemorative stamp. And there is a bill to award medals of valor to public safety officers injured or killed in the attacks.

"It is a way for us to recognize the heroic actions not only for those who died, but for those who still work on protecting all of us," said Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-New York.

In all, lawmakers have introduced nearly 100 bills responding to the September 11 attacks. Some will sail through both the House and Senate with little or no opposition. Others may never even get a vote, as Congress tries to deal with more pressing priorities.

"A lot of members of Congress just like to hear themselves. They want to issue a press release back home. They want to make a little bit of a splash in the local papers, local TV stations, (but) most of these things aren't going to be enacted into law," said Charlie Cook with the National Journal.

But some ideas just seem to make sense. Piled high in the basement of the Capitol are U.S. flags that have flown over the Capitol. Congress already passed a measure to send one to the family of every victim in the terror attacks.


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