In an uninteresting turn of events last week, Congress has passed the Omnibus Bill, which contained a provision extending the EB-5 program until September 30, 2016, with no other changes to the program. As previously discussed, the last couple of months have been filled with substantial discussions and the introduction of potential legislation aimed at reforming the program, but at the end of the day, Congress has decided to “kick the can down the road” for another couple of months.
Even though it seemed likely that Congress would pass a revised version of the Leahy Bill, it appears as though some of the suggested changes to the program required more research and discussion before members of Congress could be comfortable making this program a codified permanent fixture.
Although the temporary solution is not the result many had hoped for, there is one group of people that appear to be quite ecstatic: real estate developers. With the program’s existence having faced extinction last week, some developers rushed to file exemplars to become grandfathered into the program, while others with current projects worried about receiving additional monies to continue funding their real estate projects. With the program’s temporary extension, this will provide real estate developers with more funding certainty—albeit if only for a few more months.
We look forward to following the EB-5 discussions in the next couple of months and will provide continued updates throughout. All we can hope for, however, is that Congress remains diligent in their discussions of EB-5 and hopefully will not wait until the last minute, scrambling to figure out a quick solution to prevent the program from lapsing.