Thompson Secures Historic Discharge Petition on Fire Victims Tax Relief Bill

Press Release


The first successful petition of its kind in nine years, Thompson helps force a vote on tax relief for California wildfire victims.

Washington – Yesterday, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-04) and Rep. Greg Steube (FL-17) led a bipartisan group of 218 Members of Congress to successfully advance a discharge petition which will force House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring the Federal Disaster Tax Relief Act (H.R. 5863) to the House floor for a vote. The bill would exempt thousands of qualified wildfire victims in California, including PG&E fire victims, from having to pay federal income tax on their settlement money or pay tax on attorney fees that are included in the settlement. This relief would also apply retroactively to qualified victims. 

“Fire survivors have been through enough in the wake of losing their homes and livelihoods to wildfires. It’s wrong to tax them on the settlement money meant to help them rebuild their lives,” said Thompson. “Today’s historic discharge petition reaffirms the House’s strong, bipartisan support for survivors and sends a clear message to Republicans who have stopped this bill in the Senate: It’s time to work with us to pass much-needed relief for disaster victims.” 

The bill excludes from taxpayer gross income, for income tax purposes, any amount received by an individual taxpayer as compensation for expenses or losses incurred due to a qualified wildfire disaster (a disaster declared after 2014 as a result of a forest or range fire). It also excludes relief payments for losses resulting from the East Palestine, Ohio, train derailment on February 3, 2023 and designates Hurricane Ian, among other federally declared disasters, as a qualified disaster for the purposes of determining the tax treatment of certain disaster-related personal casualty losses. 

Today marks only the third time a House discharge petition has succeeded in the last 22 years. Next, the discharge motion will enter a waiting period for seven legislative days after which any signatory may call it up for a House vote. Once called, it must be scheduled for a vote within two legislative days.