Upcoming Congressional Fiscal Policy Deadlines
Updated 4/25/22: In early April, the White House announced an additional four-month delay in student loan repayments. The pause on repayments would have otherwise ended at the beginning of May.
On March 15, the President signed the FY 2022 omnibus appropriations bill, which the Senate passed on March 10, by a vote of 68-31, clearing it for enactment. The House had passed the measure on March 9, by votes of 361-69 (security portion) and 260-171-1 (non-security portion). Congress needed to complete appropriations work and the President needed to sign the measure by Tuesday, March 15, when the final FY 2022 continuing resolution expired.
President Biden signed legislation to increase the debt limit by $2.5 trillion on Thursday, Dec. 16, following weeks of uncertainty and separate enactment of procedural legislation related to expediting action on the debt limit. Both chambers needed to pass legislation increasing the debt limit before exhaustion of Treasury funds, before the end of December.
Earlier in the fall, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, that reauthorized highway and transit programs through FY 2026, averting a shutdown of transportation programs, ending a series of extensions since the end of FY 2020, and preventing insolvency to the Highway Trust Fund through additional transfers of money.
In March 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, enacted through budget reconciliation, which included an extension of expanded unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, enhanced tax credits for families, and a range of other programs designed to respond to the economic and public health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. In late December 2020, lawmakers enacted a combined omnibus appropriations bill and COVID-19 relief package that funded the government, included tax and health extenders, extended programs such as TANF, and provided more than $900 billion in support for individuals, businesses, and institutions affected by the pandemic. The appropriations, debt limit, infrastructure, and reconciliation packages set up many of the deadlines described below.
The next few years will include several predictable fiscal policy deadlines that will force congressional action. Many provisions providing COVID relief are expiring either in September or at the end of the year. Many of the regular non-COVID 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 to buy time for action.
|Delay of 2% Medicare Sequester||March 31, 2022/June 30, 2022||The December 2020 COVID relief and omnibus package delayed the 2 percent Medicare sequester cuts that were supposed to resume January 1, 2021, for three additional months. Legislation to again delay the sequester was enacted in the early 2021, ultimately extending the policy through the end of the year. In December 2021, Congress enacted a delay to the Medicare sequester until the second half of FY 2022. Under the recent legislation, the Medicare sequester was completely delayed until the end of March 2022, then reduced to 1 percent (from 2 percent) through June 30, 2022.|
|Student Loan Executive Order||August 31, 2022||After the CARES Act suspended payments for federal student loans, an August 2020 executive order provided for continued student loan deferral and 0% interest rate, which was later extended to January 31, 2021. President Biden asked the Department of Education to further extend it through September 2021 and then for additional extensions through January 2022, and through April 2022, for a total extension of nearly two years. In early April, Biden announced a further extension through August.|
|Funding the Government / Appropriations||September 30, 2022||After four continuing resolutions, Congress enacted an FY 2022 omnibus appropriations bill that was signed into law on March 15. It covers the remainder of the fiscal year. Q&A: Everything You Should Know About Government Shutdowns; Appropriations Watch|
|National Flood Insurance Program Authorization Expires||September 30, 2022||A short-term flood insurance extension was included in the FY 2022 omnibus appropriations bill. More on NFIP|
|Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Expires||September 30, 2022||The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program provides grants to states, territories, and tribes for home visiting services aimed at improving health and learning for young children and parents and mitigating risk factors such as abuse. It was last reauthorized in a 2018 budget law.|
|Authorization of TANF & Related Programs Expires||September 30, 2022||Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Child Care Entitlement to States were extended for roughly two months in the FY 2022 omnibus appropriations bill.|
|Food & Drug Administration User Fee Programs||September 30, 2022||User fee programs are paid by the pharmaceutical industry to finance the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) review of prescription drugs and other medical products. These programs were last reauthorized in 2017.|
|Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting||September 30, 2022||Under a 1999 law responding to increased concentration in the livestock industry, certain meat packers must report livestock prices and related market information to the Department of Agriculture. The last multi-year extension was included in a 2015 agriculture law, and a short-term extension was included in the FY 2022 omnibus.|
|Medicaid Assistance for Territories||December 13, 2022||Since late 2019, the Medicaid federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) has been 76 percent for Puerto Rico and 83 percent for the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. It was most recently extended in the FY 2022 appropriations law, at a cost of roughly $300 million. Without additional action, the FMAP for the territories would revert to 55 percent.|
|Medicare Radiation Oncology Rules||December 31, 2022||A delay to the implementation of the radiation oncology model under the Medicare program would expire. The December COVID relief and omnibus package provided for a statutory six-month additional delay, in addition to the delay announced by CMS. The change is intended to give providers more time to adapt to the new payment system. On December 7, the House passed a bill to delay the radiation oncology rules until 2023, by a 222-212 vote. The Senate passed the legislation on Dec. 9 by a 59-35 vote.|
|Medicare Physician Bonus Payments||December 31, 2022||The December 2020 COVID relief and omnibus package provided a temporary 3.75 percent Medicare physician bonus to assist medical practices with COVID-related shutdowns. On December 7, the House passed a bill to extend the Medicare physician bonus payment at 3 percent in 2022, by a 222-212 vote. The Senate passed the legislation on Dec. 9 by a 59-35 vote, and the President signed it on Dec. 10.|
|Increased and Expanded Health Insurance Subsidies||December 31, 2022||The American Rescue Plan temporarily increased premium tax credits for most individuals and families who were previously eligible for such assistance in buying health insurance from state-based marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act. It also expanded eligibility for premium tax credits to individuals with incomes exceeding 400 percent of the federal poverty line, but only through the end of 2022.|
|Other Tax Phase-Outs & Expirations||December 31, 2022||
The full expensing tax preference included in TCJA begins to phaseout in 2023 and ends completely by the beginning of 2027. Other policies expire completely, including the business meals deduction.
|Statutory PAYGO||December 2022 or January 2023||Statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules provide for an across-the-board sequester of non-exempt mandatory spending programs if lawmakers enact net deficit-increasing legislation over the course of the year. Whenever lawmakers enact legislation affecting mandatory spending or revenues, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) records the budgetary effect of the law, divides the ten-year effect, and puts that amount on the PAYGO scorecard for each of the ten years. If Congress adjourns for the year with deficit increases still on the PAYGO scorecard, OMB issues an offsetting sequester. Lawmakers could address statutory PAYGO effects stemming from the American Rescue Plan or subsequent legislation through a separate vote subject to a 60-vote threshold in the Senate or face a sequester large enough to eliminate certain mandatory programs. Legislation that passed the House on March 19 included an exemption of the American Rescue Plan from the PAYGO scorecard. On December 7, the House passed a bill to deduct any sequestration total from the 2022 scorecard and add it to the 2023 scorecard, by a 222-212 vote. The Senate passed the legislation on Dec. 9 by a 59-35 vote, and the President signed it on Dec. 10. Because statutory PAYGO requires OMB to issue a sequestration order within 15 days of the end of a congressional session, the cuts could now take effect in either December 2022 or January 2023.|
|Debt limit||Early 2023||The debt ceiling will likely need to be raised or suspended after a $2.5 trillion debt limit increase enacted in December 2021 is exhausted.|
- End of 2023: Moratorium on payment under the Medicare physician fee schedule for complex services described by Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code G2211 expires; various Medicare extenders expire; tax provisions such as the energy investment tax credit for solar and residential energy-efficient property expire.
- End of 2024: Current Medicare physician Alternative Payment Model (APM) thresholds expire (based on performance year 2022).
- End of 2025: TCJA individual income tax provisions expire; TCJA paid family leave credit expires; employer-paid student loans income exclusion expires; multiple tax extenders expire such as Empowerment Zones incentives, film and live performances expensing, and the wind energy investment tax credit; health extenders including the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration program.
- FY 2028: Medicare Hospital Insurance (Part A) Trust Fund exhaustion
- End of FY 2026: Surface transportation programs authorization provided by Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act expires; Export-Import Bank authorization expires
- 2027: Highway Trust Fund insolvency
- 2034: Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund exhaustion (combined OASI and SSDI exhaustion date is 2035)
Expired deadlines include the foreclosure moratorium (on July 31, 2021, for the general moratorium and on September 30, 2021 for starting new forbearance plans), the eviction moratorium (on August 26, 2021, following a Supreme Court opinion that effectively ended even a more limited version of the policy), increased unemployment compensation benefits (on September 6, 2021), the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs (on September 6, 2021), COVID-related paid sick leave reimbursed via payroll tax credits (on September 30, 2021), the employee retention credit that provided a refundable payroll tax credit for up to $10,000 of wages per employee (on September 30, 2021), use of money from the Coronavirus Relief Fund for States & Localities (on December 31, 2021), the COVID-related payroll tax deferral (on December 31, 2021), the enhanced child tax credit from the American Rescue Plan (on December 31, 2021), the enhanced child and dependent care tax credit (on December 31, 2021), the expanded earned income tax credit for certain childless taxpayers (on December 31, 2021), certain COVID-related tax policies pertaining to charitable deductions and health savings accounts (on December 31, 2021), dozens of tax extenders for individuals and businesses that are routinely renewed (on December 31, 2021), and certain tax policies under the 2017 tax law (TCJA) that affect how businesses can deduct interest and research & experimentation costs (on December 31, 2021), and COVID-related Emergency Injury Disaster Loan grants (on December 31, 2021).