Congress Returns to Packed Agenda, Funding Deadlines
September 13, 2019
Congress returned this week from recess to a full legislative agenda and a September 30 government funding deadline. (Roll Call, Sept. 10)
None of the 12 annual discretionary spending bills have been signed into law yet. Lawmakers still must negotiate appropriations affecting contentious issues such as funding for a wall on the southern border, which is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security. Disagreements over wall funding led to the historic 35-day partial government shutdown in 2018–2019. (Politico, Jan. 25)
Of interest to real estate, funding for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is also set to expire September 30 – the end of the current fiscal year. FY’20 begins October 1. (Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 15).
In order to give lawmakers more time to negotiate spending levels and policy differences, congressional leaders have endorsed a stopgap funding bill, or Continuing Resolution (CR). The CR emerging from discussions between House and Senate appropriators is expected to run through November 22. Both EB-5 and NFIP are expected to be included within a funding extension measure. (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 10 and The Hill, Sept. 9)
On September 4, the National Multifamily Housing Council, The Real Estate Roundtable, and other industry organizations sent a letter to Congressional tax-writers urging them to enact a technical correction related to the cost recovery period for residential rental property. The correction would clarify that taxpayers electing out of the new limitation on business interest deductibility can depreciate their existing rental properties over 30 years, rather than 40 years. The 30-year period applies to newly acquired or constructed residential rental properties, and should also apply to existing holdings. (Letter on Cost Recovery Period for Residential Rental Property under Section 163(j), Sept. 4)
Congress is scheduled to be in legislative session for three weeks in September, three weeks in October and a few weeks in November. Both chambers aim to adjourn for the year by December 13, 2019.