WASHINGTON (AP) _ Legislation extending tax benefits to the roughly 20,000 U.S. troops in Bosnia was introduced in the House on Thursday.

Rep. Sam Gibbons of Florida, ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee and author of the bill, said the troops face risks and hardships similar to those in combat zones, such as the Persian Gulf War area.

Troops in Bosnia receive hazardous duty pay, which is analogous to combat pay. The bill would exempt from tax the entire pay of enlisted personnel and the first $500 a month for officers, Gibbons spokeswoman Ellen Dadisman said.

The legislation also would forgive, for one year, the income tax of the spouses of service personnel killed. And it would offer estate-tax relief to their heirs, loosen tax-return filing deadlines and suspend excise taxes on telephone calls originating from Bosnia.

Republicans are working on similar legislation and aides said it could be attached to must-pass legislation increasing the federal borrowing limit.