Congress  passed a short-term extension of the EB-5 Regional Center Program that will extend the program through June 30, 2021.  This extension will decouple the EB-5 program from immigration programs including E-Verify, Conrad 30 Waiver Program for J-1 medical doctors and non-minister religious workers programs that are extended through Sept. 30, 2021.

Congress has sent a clear message regarding the EB-5 Regional Center program – the program must be reformed over the next six months.

On Sept. 30, 2020, the U.S. Senate passed and the president signed H.R. 8337 to keep the U.S. government operational through Dec. 11, 2020. This action will maintain vital immigration programs such as the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program, E-Verify, Conrad 30 Waiver Program for J-1 medical doctors and non-minister religious workers programs.

The legislation also adds additional options for premium processing of certain types of petitions that are filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS is permitted to authorize premium processing for any category it deems appropriate. Congress is now requiring USCIS to increase the premium processing fees and to expand it more broadly to additional employment-based categories including EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3; applications to change or extend non-immigrant visa status; and applications for employment authorization (EADs). EB-5 is not included in the legislation. This legislation provides for a $2,500 premium processing fee for most applications filed before Aug. 1, 2020. The timelines for specific types of filings vary between 15 to 45 days under premium processing. USCIS is tasked with going through the regulatory process to come up with the fees and any additional timelines on a going-forward basis.

On Nov. 18, Congressional Appropriation leadership introduced a 26-page Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund government and extend vital programs such as EB-5 through Dec. 20, 2019. Leaders hope to use the additional time to extend current operations and complete fiscal matters and other priorities before the holidays.

In addition to the extension of time, the CR allows for the extension of certain health programs and other key priorities of Congress, such as the census, military pay, highway funding, and other programs.

The House is expected to pass the CR tomorrow and then to the Senate and the president before the Nov. 21 expiration of the current CR.

For more on continuing resolutions, click here.

President Trump signed the latest Continuing Resolution into law Friday night (Sept. 27) extending government operations and vital programs, such as EB-5,  through Nov. 21 –

Bill Announcement

Healthcare

Issued on: September 27, 2019

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On Friday, September 27, 2019, the President signed into law:

H.R. 4378, the “Continuing Appropriations Act, 2020, and Health Extenders Act of 2019,” which provides FY 2020 appropriations to Federal agencies through November 21, 2019, for continuing projects and activities of the Federal Government. Also extends authority for a broad range Medicare, Medicaid, public health, and human services activities.  https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/bill-announcement-54/ 

Please consult your GT attorney with specific questions and check back as this blog is updated as events warrant.

Yesterday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) introduced a continuing resolution (CR) to fund government from end of the current fiscal year, Sept. 30, until Nov. 21, 2019. By a vote of 301-123, the House today passed H.R. 4378, the CR that will fund the government through Nov. 21.

To EB-5 advocates, this timing is significant in that this CR extends the program coterminous with implementation of the recent Obama-era regulations. This timing continues to provide the opportunity for stakeholders to advocate and negotiate needed legislated industry reforms and a programmatic “better way forward” from the Obama-era regulations.

It is widely believed that the CR will be considered by the House this week and sent to the Senate. Reports vary as to when the Senate will schedule consideration, but it is expected that clearance by the Senate and signature of the president will occur prior to Sept. 30 (the fiscal year deadline). It is, as of this writing, believed that there will be no government shutdown over this CR.

CRs have become necessary in recent years to keep government open. The good news is such processes are available and being used to keep government open. The bad news is that this process may need to be utilized several more times this Congress due to spending differences between the House, Senate, and White House.

From Politico Pro: Congress has enacted one or more continuing resolutions “in all but three of the last 43 fiscal years,” the Congressional Research Service noted in an April report.

Please contact your GT attorney with any questions and please check back, as we expect more CR and end-of-year activities.

For more on continuing resolutions, click here.

As a continuation of an earlier posting, the U.S. Senate initiated a process by voice vote opening the US Government through February 15, H.J. Res 28, and providing for House and Senate consideration of Department of Homeland Security Appropriations, H. J. Res 31.   These actions will provide funding for all remaining Appropriations bills subject to the recent lapse.  This action will also re-start suspended vital immigration programs such as the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program, E-Verify, Conrad 30 Waiver Program for J-1  medical doctors and Non-minister religious workers programs.

The House passed the legislative package by Unanimous Consent later in the evening.  The House will forward the legislation to the President wherein he is expected to sign (per media reports) the package into law.

Please check back as we will be posting additional information regarding the US Government re-starting of operations.

The U.S. Senate filed Continuing Resolution, Senate amendment to H.R. 695 – Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2018 [Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019, legislation on Dec. 19 to extend government programs and operations through Feb. 8, 2019 and to prevent a partial government shutdown on Dec. 21.

From the Senate Appropriations Committee press release

Temporary extensions included in previous CRs of expiring authorities:

  • The National Flood Insurance Program, for the duration of the CR.
  • The Violence Against Women Act, for the duration of the CR.
  • The Pesticide Registration Improvement Act, for the duration of the CR.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, for the duration of the CR.
  • Immigration extensions (EB-5, E-Verify, Conrad 30 program for international medical school graduates, Special Immigrant Religious Workers program, and H2B returning worker authority for DHS), for the duration of the CR.

The Senate passed the Continuing Resolution late last night (Dec. 19). The legislation is pending consideration in the U.S. House. It is widely believed that Congress will present a Continuing Resolution to the president preventing a government shutdown or stoppage of critical programs, like EB-5, in a timely manner. We will continue to monitor this quickly moving situation.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) introduced H.J. Res 143 – FY 2019 Continuing Resolution Through December 21, 2018 on Dec. 3 to extend government programs not yet authorized for the fiscal year until Dec. 21, 2018. Programs extended under the filed Continuing Resolution include seven appropriation bills that are set to expire on Dec. 7 under the existing continuing resolution, and critical immigration programs such as EB-5, Conrad 30, Religious Workers, and E-Verify.

The events surrounding the death of former President George H. W. Bush (41) impacted the current Congressional schedule and necessitated an extension of time by continuing resolution for Congress to negotiate and conclude government-wide appropriations. It is expected that by some time on Thursday, Dec. 6, the House will take up H.J. Res 143 and pass the measure by unanimous consent. The measure would then go to the Senate, where it is expected to pass, and to the president for signature (he has signaled he will sign).

If all goes as planned, Congress will have two additional weeks to conclude appropriations and any other legislation before Sine Die adjournment of the 115th Congress later this month.

The President today signed H.R. 6157, a bill making Appropriations for Defense and Labor Health and Human Services & Education with a continuing resolution for other government programs not reauthorized by Oct 1. The continuing resolution prevents a government shutdown and extends vital programs, such as the EB-5 immigrant investor program, among others until Dec. 7.

To date, Congress has approved five of 12 appropriations bills. A four-bill minibus is in conference and the balance of three appropriations bills await further action. It is widely believed that additional congressional action will occur after the upcoming mid-term elections in November.

Yesterday, by a bipartisan vote of 93-7, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 6157, making appropriations for the Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies and providing for continuing appropriations until Dec. 7 for other programs, including EB-5 immigrant investor program extension.  

This appropriations package funds the two largest segments of the U.S. budget, which are among the top priorities for annual funding. The inclusion of the Continuing Resolution in this strategic and important legislative package helps to ensure consideration and passage before appropriations lapse on Sept. 30. 

The House is expected to take up the Senate-passed legislation next week upon their return from break.