HOUSTON - Senator Ted Cruz held a press conference in Houston Friday about a hurricane tax relief bill he helped write.

The bill gives people and businesses who had Harvey damage significant tax deductions worth billions, says Senator Cruz. Mayor Turner also encouraged Houstonians to take advantage of that, with tax season around the corner.

Here is an excerpt from the senator's website describing the bill:

This bill is a victory for all Texans. It provides targeted tax relief to provide immediate assistance to the millions of Texans impacted by Harvey, who will see a significant portion of the more than $5.5 billion in tax benefits.

Hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed during Harvey, causing unexpected financial burdens for many hardworking Texans. To help in rebuilding, this legislation gives individuals in federally declared disaster areas the ability to withdraw from their retirement accounts to cover costs of damages resulting from the hurricanes, without having to pay the 10 percent penalty that is normally imposed for withdrawing from those accounts before retirement.

This bill also relaxes the tax rules regarding individual casualty losses, making it easier for Harvey victims to claim a full deduction for these losses and leaving them more money in their pockets to rebuild.

Many businesses also made sacrifices to help their impacted employees during the devastation of Harvey, continuing to pay them during the hurricane and after, even when those employees were unable to get to work or when the businesses themselves were shut down because of the storm. This legislation allows those businesses to claim a tax credit, giving countless small businesses the support they need to recover from the storm and come back strong.

And for families whose incomes may have been impacted by Harvey, my bill allows taxpayers to calculate the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit based on their earned income from the previous year, if they choose, which will provide significant help to family budgets.

Lastly, the Cruz-Cornyn-Rubio tax relief bill also has allowed people across the country this year to make charitable contributions toward relief efforts in federally declared disaster areas without any limit to how much they can then claim as a tax deduction. This has encouraged charitable giving across the country, with potentially millions of dollars flowing to charitable causes to help Texans rebuild their lives.

During the press conference, Senator Cruz was asked about Trump's alleged inflammatory comments describing African countries.

"Heidi and her family lived in Africa, Kenya and Nigeria when her parents were missionaries.I don't know what was said, what wasn't said - the approach I've tried to take in Washington is to stay out of the nastiness," said Cruz.