Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, is asking Republicans to alter their Contract With America to include what he says are improvements to allow people to more easily afford homes.

The GOP contract includes the "American Dream Restoration Act," but Orton told the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday that a bill he has pushed for years would improve GOP provisions.Orton's "First-time Homebuyer Affordability Act" would allow people to borrow from their own Individual Retirement Accounts to buy a first home without incurring early withdrawal penalties or taxes. GOP versions only waive penalties, not taxes.

Orton said, "People who use IRA funds to buy a home under the penalty waiver can still incur a tax of as much as $4,000 on a $10,000 investment."

He added, "My proposal avoids all taxes - which should make it much easier for young couples struggling to find the funds to meet that difficult down-payment requirement."

Orton said his bill could increase a homebuyer's available funds by more than 50 percent.

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Orton said he hopes committee members will incorporate his proposal. "However, if they fail to do so in committee, I plan on offering my bill as an amendment on the House floor."

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