Congress passes RC extension to 12/11/2015

Today Congress passed a short-term spending bill that keeps the government running through December 11, 2015, and, among other incidentals, the EB-5 Regional Center program running without changes for the same period. The President is expected to sign later tonight, so I trust that this post is not premature. IIUSA has already made a statement.

So what’s likely to happen between now and December 11, the deferred sunset date for the Regional Center program? Not counting today, the Regional Center program has been reauthorized six times since 1992 (in 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009, 2012), and almost every time the authorization happened the way it did today, as part of the appropriations process. 2012 was the only time the Regional Center program has had stand-alone legislation instead of being packaged with a spending bill. (The 2012 legislation passed unanimously in the Senate and by a vote of 412-3 in the House, and made a few tweaks to the Regional Center statute and no changes to direct EB-5.) But lobbyists who spoke in IIUSA’s legislative update webinar last Friday opined that we shouldn’t expect another simple extension of the Regional Center program from December 11; we should anticipate legislation with substantive changes. Reportedly a collection of Congressional representatives interested in EB-5 have actually gotten together and formed a working group that has been meeting to discuss the Regional Center program and hammer out legislation fit to garner the bipartisan, bicameral, and urban-rural support that it will need to pass. The group is expected to go public with a work product soon, now that the short-term extension is in place. The lobbyists mentioned that the two most contentious issues for this group are the Targeted Employment Area definition and effective dates. I suppose that these are sticking points because both issues will create new “haves” and “have nots,” and interested parties each hope to be on the side of the “haves” when it comes to enjoying the TEA incentive and taking advantage of grandfathering if any. The lobbyists didn’t mention argument over new integrity measures or an increase to the minimum EB-5 investment amount; I take it those are givens. I don’t hear any serious rumors that the EB-5 Regional Center program will be dropped — $14.38 billion in foreign direct investment is a pretty big golden egg, and that’s what EB-5 has brought in since the beginning, according to IIUSA numbers, with $1.4 billion in the last quarter alone – but I also don’t hear anyone optimistic that the next three months will be easy. Congress reportedly still has a low appetite for immigration issues since the Executive Actions on immigration, and it has so much to fight about between now and December besides EB-5. (See also Ron Klasko’s 10/6 blog on this topic.)

About Suzanne (www.lucidtext.com)
Suzanne Lazicki is a business plan writer, EB-5 expert, and founder of Lucid Professional Writing.

One Response to Congress passes RC extension to 12/11/2015

  1. Jeff says:

    We need substantive changes. SB 1501 is the best bill out there to make the well needed changes to the program. This will eliminate a lot of the 3rd party “brokers” that get in the way of deals and takes the program out of the hands of Lawyers who don’t contribute anything to the process but are somehow in the middle. We need to support the bill as is with grandfather clauses for existing projects.

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