Is February 18 a Serious Date for Reauthorization?

Is February 18 a Serious Date for Reauthorization?

The constant question being asked is: just when will the Regional Center Program be reauthorized? 

The EB-5 community is anxiously awaiting news as the next opportunity to attach reauthorization legislation to the omnibus appropriations bill is on February 18, 2022, when the current Continuing Resolution expires. Optimism has been high, as there have been reports of a meeting between Senators Schumer and Leahy, rumors that the opposing EB-5 factions have reached a consensus, and, most recently, the dissemination of a leaked draft bill proposing sweeping changes to the EB-5 program.

Despite these events, it is still unclear whether or not the Program will be reauthorized by that impending date. Reauthorization depends largely on two factors: whether the omnibus bill will even be passed at all; and, whether EB-5 legislation will be ready to attach to this new spending package.

Although the leaked bill remains unverified, it certainly looks palatable for both urban and rural factions. Some sources believe that this bill could be voted on as soon as February 18. For a number of reasons, a more realistic date would be March or April. Congress is likely to pass a third CR instead of new legislation, as negotiations on a 12-bill omnibus package continue and appropriators appear to have made little progress on reaching a budget consensus.

The credibility of this leaked bill remains in question; however, it addresses several key areas of reform – many of which may become actual legislation. For example, a redefinition of Targeted Employment Areas, the addition of reserved visas for certain TEAs, changes to capital redeployment, priority processing for certain individuals, and other integrity measures. More importantly, the leaked bill outlines Regional Center Program reauthorization until 2027 and an increased minimum investment amount of $700,000 for projects located in a TEA.

While changes to the EB-5 program have long been expected, no legislation, including the leaked bill, has been confirmed. To quote other sources: “Much is still unknown. Elements of the draft bill are unclear” and “the bill may never be introduced in Congress.”