Congress this week passed a $1.5 trillion “omnibus” spending package that would fund government programs through September and provide $13.6 billion for emergency Ukraine assistance. The omni also includes Roundtable-supported language to address the transition away from the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and reform the EB-5 Regional Center Program. (See separate Roundtable Weekly story below on EB-5)
Omni Funding & Ukraine
- The omni passed the House on a bipartisan basis on Wednesday and the Senate last night after months of negotiations. President Biden is expected to sign the 2,741-page omnibus spending package (H.R. 2471) today to avoid a government shutdown, since previously allocated funding expires at midnight. (Wall Street Journal, March 9 and March 10)
- Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer said, “The Roundtable applauds these bipartisan actions by lawmakers to shore up funding for government operations, and pass positive changes impacting EB-5 and LIBOR. We look forward to Congress turning its focus to other essential issues facing American businesses, workers, local communities and CRE, as outlined in our recently released 2022 Policy Agenda.
- “The Roundtable also fully supports the billions in federal aid to Ukraine as its citizens continue to bravely stand up against Russian aggression. As we bear witness to the tragic violence of the invasion, The Roundtable encourages its members and all industry stakeholders to contribute to charities involved in Ukrainian humanitarian relief,” DeBoer added. (VetVoice Foundation)
- The Roundtable on March 25 will hold an open Zoom discussion on the situation in Ukraine with Lieutenant Colonel (USA, Ret.) Alexander Vindman, a Senior Advisor at VoteVets and the VetVoice Foundation. More details will be forthcoming on how to register.
Omni & CRE
The omnibus package would also release an additional $197 billion to be spent over 10 years for energy, transportation, and other programs that were part of last year’s bipartisan infrastructure bill. (Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 11)
Reference: Appropriations bills | Ukraine Supplemental | One-page fact sheet
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The Senate yesterday approved funding to keep the government open through March 11, allowing congressional negotiators an additional three weeks to reach a spending deal for fiscal year 2022. (CQ, Feb. 18)
From CR to Omni
- The legislation (H.R. 6617) extends FY2021 funding levels, averting a government shutdown at midnight tonight. President Biden is expected to sign the Continuing Resolution (CR), which was passed by the House last week. (Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 11)
- Congressional appropriators are now focused on crafting an “omnibus” bill to fund the government though the end of FY2021, which began Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30. A deal on an omni package would consolidate 12 separate spending bills and release additional funds for infrastructure. (Tax Notes, Feb. 18)
- The must-pass omnibus could become a vehicle for additional tax measures, including expired tax incentives and energy credits known as extenders. Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, (D-OR), told Tax Notes on February 10 that certain credits may be included in an omnibus bill or in a scaled-down Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376).
- The Biden administration’s request for Congress to appropriate billions more in COVID-19 response funds is meeting bipartisan resistance. Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) this week commented on negotiations about the omnibus and the White House supplemental, stating, “That should probably be a separate bill.” (Politico, Feb. 17 and PoliticPro, Feb. 18)
Roundtable & Energy Measures
- Omnibus negotiations and pandemic funding may be followed by congressional consideration of a pared-down BBB bill as the mid-term elections grow closer. Key Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has signaled his support for climate measures in a revised BBB package. (CNN, Jan. 5 and New York Times, Jan. 20)
- The Roundtable has supported the BBB Act’s climate measures, which include a suite of clean energy tax credits and incentives amounting to $300 billion. (Roundtable Weekly, Jan. 7)
- The Roundtable sent a letter to Congressional tax writers on Nov. 16, 2021 detailing five recommendations aimed at improving the green energy tax provisions affecting real estate. (Roundtable letter, Nov. 16)
The Senate returns on Feb. 28 for President Biden’s first State of the Union address on March 1, which will be followed by the administration’s FY2023 budget request.
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House Democratic leaders, facing a heavy agenda and a Feb. 18 government funding deadline, are considering a three-week stopgap funding bill to allow appropriators more time to complete 2022 spending bills. (RollCall, Feb. 4)
- The House may vote early next week on a possible “Continuing Resolution” (CR) to extend current funding levels through March 11 and avoid a possible government shutdown. A CR would also require Senate approval. (CQ, Feb. 4)
- Negotiations among congressional appropriations leaders to reach a deal on a bipartisan omnibus bill for FY202 – which runs from Oct. 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2022 – have stalled on reaching top-line spending levels for defense and domestic funding. (The Hill, Feb. 1)
- This would be the third government funding stopgap for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.
- Yesterday, Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) stated that the length of time agreed upon for another CR extension would reflect whether Democrats and Republicans can agree to a funding deal. “If it’s a short-term [CR], that would mean probably that we’re making some progress, real progress,” Shelby said. “If it’s longer, we might go … for the rest of the year.” (The Hill, Feb. 3)
A Demanding Agenda
- A crowded congressional agenda – including what may be next for the stalled Build Back Better (BBB) Act, international geopolitics, and action on President Biden’s upcoming Supreme Court nominee – adds pressure for policymakers to reach agreement on a spending bill.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), above, yesterday noted the urgency to reach an omnibus funding agreement. She stated, “We’re hoping to get that done as soon as possible in terms of … the omnibus bill.” Pelosi added, “One connection between infrastructure and omnibus is that some of the money in the infrastructure bill cannot be freed up until we pass the omnibus bill,” she said. (Pelosi Weekly Press Conference, Feb. 3)
- Separately, the impact of the FY2022 funding negotiations are unlikely to affect the timing for congressional consideration of how to pare down the BBB Act (H.R. 5376), according to House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal (D-MA) and Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR). Both policymakers said they did not want to set an “artificial” deadline for potential revisions to the stalled proposal. (Tax Notes, Feb. 3 and Roundtable Weekly, Jan. 21)
- As FY2022 spending negotiations continue, The Washington Post reported today that the White House may request additional federal funding from Congress to aid pandemic recovery as current funding for preparedness is starting to dwindle.
President Biden is also expected to start the next fiscal year cycle with the release of his fiscal budget request for 2023 – shortly after his State of the Union address on March 1.
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