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Upcoming Congressional Fiscal Policy Deadlines

Nov 22, 2019 | Budget Process

Updated 11/22/2019: Congress did not complete action on appropriations before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, although lawmakers enacted legislation in August to raise the discretionary spending caps and have resumed appropriations work. Congress enacted a continuing resolution (CR) in September that funded the government through Nov. 21. Another CR was needed to allow the House and Senate to continue negotiations on full appropriations for the rest of FY 2020. The House passed a CR that runs through Dec. 20 on Nov. 19 that also extends certain programs such as TANF. The Senate passed the CR, and the President signed it, before expiration of the existing stopgap law on Nov. 21. 

The next two years will include several predictable fiscal policy deadlines that will force congressional action. Many of these deadlines could bring additional costs if Congress acts irresponsibly, or they could present an opportunity for Congress to reduce deficits.

We will regularly update this tracker to help reporters, congressional staff, and others interested in fiscal policy keep tabs of major deadlines. We recommend that you bookmark it and come back to check in.

Congress may be compelled to act on each of these dates or enact short-term extensions to move the deadlines. Dates in red indicate past due deadlines.

Issue   Deadline   Potential 2019-2029 Cost   More Information
First Expiration of the 2017 Tax Bill: Medical Expense Deduction   December 31, 2018   $3 billion for 1 year; $30 billion if extended permanently   The deduction would shrink, covering expenses that exceed 10% of adjusted gross income instead of 7.5% currently as provided in the 2017 tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).
“Tax Extenders” – 20+ tax breaks that expired in 2017   December 31, 2017   ~$20 billion for 1 year; ~$100 billion if extended permanently   Retroactively reinstated for 2017; were expired for 2018 and not reinstated before tax filing for the year. Congress could revive them for future years.
Funding the Government / Appropriations   December 20, 2019   None if Congress abides by budget caps   Lawmakers need more time to complete work on FY 2020 appropriations, although the new fiscal year started on Oct. 1. Congress enacted a seven-week CR in September. The House passed an additional CR that runs through Dec. 20 on Nov. 19 by a 231-192 vote, and the Senate cleared it on Nov. 21 by a 74-20 vote. The President signed it on Nov. 21  Q&A: Everything You Should Know About Government Shutdowns
Appropriations Watch
Reauthorization of TANF & Related Programs Needed   December 20, 2019   TBD   Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Child Care Entitlement to States will expire under an extension included in the September seven-week CR. An additional extension was included in the November CR.
National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Needed   December 20, 2019   TBD   The House and Senate extended the deadline in the September seven-week CR. An additional extension was included in the November CR. More on NFIP
Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Needed   December 20, 2019   TBD   The Export-Import Bank was reauthorized for another four years in 2015 after Congress allowed its general statutory authority to expire for several months. An extension was included in the September seven-week CR. An additional extension was included in the November CR.
FISA Reauthorization Needed   March 15, 2019   TBD   Certain activities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act were reauthorized for another four years in 2015 after a one-day lapse in the law. The November CR extended those provisions for another four months.
Paid Family Leave Credit Expires   December 31, 2019   $1 billion for 1 year; $25 billion if extended permanently       TCJA, the 2017 tax bill, created a paid leave credit for employers that provide family and medical leave that expires at the end of 2019. 
 
ACA Taxes Reinstated   December 31, 2019   $15 billion for 1 year; $190 billion if extended permanently  

Includes the delays of the medical device tax and health insurance tax from the January 2018 CR. Three-Week Funding Deal Includes $30 Billion in Tax Cuts

Alcohol Taxes   December 31, 2019   $1 billion for 1 year; $15 billion through 2029   Provisions from TCJA modifying the rates of taxation of beer, wine, and distilled spirits and certain other rules expire at the end of 2019.

Longer-Term Deadlines 

  • End of FY 2020: Surface transportation law expiration
  • July 2021: Debt ceiling suspension expires
  • 2022: Highway Trust Fund exhaustion
  • 2022: Various tax provisions expire: amortization of research & experimentation costs, interest deduction rules, Cadillac tax delay
  • 2023: Full expensing tax phase-out begins; continues until 2027
  • 2025: Multiemployer Pension Insurance Fund exhaustion
  • 2026: TCJA individual income tax provisions expire
  • 2026: Medicare Hospital Insurance (Part A) Trust Fund exhaustion
  • 2034: Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund exhaustion (combined OASI and SSDI exhaustion date is 2035)
  • 2052: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Trust Fund exhaustion

These trust fund exhaustion dates are estimates provided by the Social Security Trustees. The Congressional Budget Office projected different dates of 2028 for Disability Insurance and 2032 for Old-Age and Survivors Insurance in its recent long-term budget outlook.