Congress Defers Omnibus to March 11, 2022

February 21st, 2022 Peter Bibler

The Senate passed a continuing resolution, extending federal spending for three weeks, to March 11, 2022. The House passed a similar bill the week prior. This gives Congress 3 weeks to finalize the omnibus bill, a $1.4 trillion 12-bill spending package, and which is also considered must-pass legislation for funding the federal government. This short continuing resolution does not include any additional measures such as reauthorization for the EB-5 regional center program.

This short-term extension of 3 weeks reflects how close Congress is to an agreement on the omnibus. It’s reported that a broad agreement has already been reached, and Congress logistically needs time for drafting and voting on the omnibus before funding expires. This agreement rests largely on the shoulders of Senators Leahy of Vermont and Shelby of Alabama, who are the chair and ranking member respectively of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Both are retiring at the end of this year, so this spending package is a very important milestone for them. Both parties recognize, too, that a year-long continuing resolution at existing levels can have a negative impact on mid-term elections.

EB-5 Reform Bill Update

Momentum has increased in recent weeks for reform of the EB-5 regional center program. We are aware of a consensus bill, drafted by Rep. Nadler, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, that is circulating among key Congress members, with comments being contributed by all EB-5 stakeholders. This reform bill has gone from industry stakeholders to legislative staffers and is now in the hands of Congressional leaders to finalize details.

Behring, too, has directly communicated with several senators and legislative staffers, including those sitting on the appropriations committee, providing direct feedback on bill language. Their feedback has been positive. Behring has had the opportunity to explain to Congress members outside of our home state of California the value the EB-5 program brings to their constituents’ communities.
We are aware that key senators are still negotiating over final terms revolving around the requirement investment amount and criteria for Targeted Employment Area (TEA) designation, among other components.

Behring Files Second Lawsuit Against DHS, USCIS and DOS.

While Behring fully supports comprehensive EB-5 reform, the existence of the regional center program should not be a political issue. We filed this lawsuit because while we are confident a compromise EB-5 reform bill will be achieved, as political negotiations have dragged on, we’ve learned that DHS, USCIS and DOS wrongfully stopped processing EB-5 regional center-associated petitions and visa applications and are acting contrary to Congressional intent when establishing the EB-5 regional center program. Learn more about Behring’s lawsuit.