Legislative Activity

Senate Judiciary Committee to Hold Hearing on EB-5 Target Employment Areas

This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its second hearing of the year examining the EB-5 Regional Center Program.  This program is designed to bolster the U.S. economy by incentivizing investment from foreign individuals in exchange for legal permanent residence.  The FY 2016 omnibus appropriations measure passed by Congress at the end of 2015 extended the EB-5 Regional Center Program for the remainder of the Fiscal Year.  However, lawmakers are currently debating whether to overhaul the program in light of what some argue is a need to better protect against potential abuse, refocus investment in areas that need it most, and increase the minimum levels of funds required to participate in the program.

Projects slated for Targeted Employment Areas require a lower investment amount, $500,000, as compared to $1 million elsewhere.  These rural or high unemployment areas must meet specific criteria to qualify, but, given the lower threshold, can serve as attractive candidates for foreign investment.  During a February 2 hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) expressed his concern that the EB-5 Program lacks sufficient oversight and suffers from corruption and serious weaknesses, potentially implicating national security.  Chairman Grassley believes the program must be reformed before it can be reauthorized beyond September 30, an issue that will certainly be debated by lawmakers over the months to come.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Tuesday, March 1: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security will hold a hearing titled “Transparency, Trust and Verification: Measuring Effectiveness and Situational Awareness Along the Border.”
  • Tuesday, March 1: The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing to consider the Transportation Security Administration’s FY 2017 budget request.
  • Tuesday, March 1: the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing to consider the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s FY 2017 budget request.
  • Wednesday, March 2: The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Security will hold a hearing to consider the Transportation Security Administration’s FY 2017 budget request.
  • Wednesday, March 2: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to consider nominations.
  • Wednesday, March 2: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Distortion of EB-5 Targeted Employment Areas: Time to End the Abuse.”
  • Wednesday, March 2: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing to consider the Transportation Security Administration’s FY 2017 budget request
  • Thursday, March 3: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing titled “Dogs of DHS: How Canine Programs Contribute to Homeland Security.”
  • Thursday, March 3: The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to consider nominations and legislation.
  • Thursday, March 3: The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing to consider the U.S. Coast Guard’s FY 2017 budget request.
  • Tuesday, March 8: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing to consider the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s FY 2017 budget request.