The House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve a bill that will allow taxpayers to claim charitable donations made related to Haiti relief efforts on their 2009 tax returns rather than waiting until they filed their 2010 returns to claim the deduction. It also allows taxpayers who sent their donation in via text message to use their phone bill as proof of the contribution.
These deductions are considered an itemized charitable deduction just as any other charitable deduction is. It will not be treated differently other than the year that you are allowed to deduct it.
I have not seen details of the actual bill yet, but it is supposed to apply to contributions made between January 12, 2010 and February 28, 2010.
Keep in mind that this is not a requirement to claim the contribution in 2009. It is only an option. Be sure to assess your individual tax situation or discuss with your tax planner to make sure it will not work out better to claim your deduction in 2010.
The Senate has promised that they will pass the bill swiftly as well, and it is expected that President Obama will sign the legislation into law quickly.