On Tuesday, Congress introduced a bill for another continuing resolution (CR) that would extend federal government funding through April 28, 2017. Included in the CR is a clean reauthorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program through the same date. The House and Senate both passed the measure yesterday before the midnight deadline.
Negotiations to secure long-term reauthorization and reform to the EB-5 Program will resume in the 115th Congress, which commences on January 3rd. EB-5 stakeholders and congressional offices have engaged in meaningful discussions all year, particularly over the past few months, to reach consensus and compromise for the healthy future of the Program.
In the last week, a piece of draft legislation was circulated to industry stakeholders from Congressional staff. While this had no sign-off by any industry stakeholders or congressional office, the draft reflects hard-fought compromise with a diverse stakeholders. IIUSA’s Leadership and Public Policy Committee will be taking a deeper dive into the legislation to provide comments to legislative offices.
The short-term extension through April 28 will ensure that the industry and legislators will have the opportunity to agree upon a comprehensive reauthorization bill that provides necessary reforms to the Program while allowing the Program to continue to grow, thrive and endure in the long term. We also welcome comments from members on this draft bill by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking Ahead to the 115th Congress & New Administration
There are several new dynamics that the industry must be aware of once the 115th Congress commences on January 3, 2017. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will move from the Senate Judiciary Committee to the Senate Appropriations Committee as Ranking Member. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) will be Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee with Senator Charles Grassley remaining Chairman. The House Judiciary Committee will retain Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) for the new Congress.
Additionally, on November 22, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) updated the regulatory agenda for EB-5. According to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs reginfo.gov, we can expect to see proposed regulatory changes to EB-5 at the first of the year. DHS added EB-5 the unified agenda earlier this year. We have yet to know what the new Trump Administration will do with these recommendations, but we should nonetheless be ready to provide substantive comments once the regulations are published early next month. Just this week we learned that President-Elect Trump’s appointee for Secretary of Homeland Security is Retired Marine General John F. Kelly. We are still waiting to hear who he will appoint as the new Director of USCIS.
While specifics are not yet available, DHS notes that regulatory amendments will be proposed to modernize the EB-5 program. Regulation updates will include the following areas:
- Priority date retention
- Increased to required investment amounts
- Revision of the Targeted Employment Area requirement
- Clarification of the Regional Center designation and continued program participation requirements
- Further definition of grounds for termination Regional Centers
The full update is available here.
This has been quite a year for EB-5, to say the least. We would like to thank our members for your unwavering support and we look forward to continuing our work together in the new year.