In our most recent article, we reported that President Trump had signed HR 601 into law on September 8, 2017. The law is a bundle of legislative spending bills that includes continuing to maintain appropriations for government operations, as they currently exist. Although the bill is not ostensibly about EB-5, the Investor Visa program is covered by the continuing resolution, which is now law.
Congress will have to busy itself over the next three months to deal with both funding government programs in general and considering EB-5 as a stand-alone item.
As we see it, Congress has several options.
Passing an omnibus bill that, like HR 601 continues to fund government programs as they are.
Passing a spending reform bill, which might or might not affect the EB-5 visa program.
Passing legislation to reform parts of the EB-5 program. The reforms would then be included in the omnibus bill.
Letting the EB-5 program sunset on December 8th.
Considering the administration’s emphasis on the economy, we believe that Congress is unlikely to allow the EB-5 Regional Center program to end. Although there is a strong push from some members of Congress to reform EB-5, given the typical pace of the legislature, we believe that the most likely short-term scenario will be the first listed above.
Specifically, the following excerpt from H.R. 601 Division D Section 106 applies to EB-5 and all other currently funded programs.
Unless otherwise provided for in this Act or in the applicable appropriations Act for fiscal year 2018, appropriations and funds made available and authority granted pursuant to this Act shall be available until whichever of the following first occurs:
- the enactment into law of an appropriation for any project or activity provided for in this Act;
- the enactment into law of the applicable appropriations Act for fiscal year 2018 without any provision for such project or activity; or
- December 8, 2017.
“The language in Section 106 is a good reminder that “extended to December 8” doesn’t mean “guaranteed to remain unchanged until December 8.” Congress will reportedly turn its attention to immigration issues in the next couple months, and they could come up with legislation before December that affects multiple visa categories including EB-5.”
Congress will have to act on the EB-5 program once again by December 8th at the latest. Look for our next article, which will explain the options that Congress will have.