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Upcoming Congressional Fiscal Policy Deadlines

Dec 24, 2019 | Budget Process

Updated 12/24/2019: 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. Congress enacted two continuing resolutions that allowed the House and Senate to continue negotiations on full appropriations for the rest of FY 2020. In late December, lawmakers enacted a spending deal to complete appropriations for the fiscal year through two "minibus" packages that also included certain policy extensions, the permanent repeal of certain health care taxes that were included in the Affordable Care Act, and numerous tax extenders, with a total estimated cost of $500 billion. The House passed the legislation by a 297-120 vote and a 280-138 vote on Tuesday, Dec. 17, and the Senate passed the measures on Thursday, Dec. 19, by a 71-23 vote and an 81-11 vote. President Trump signed both measures on Friday, Dec. 20.

The spending deal included permanent repeals of the medical device tax and health insurance tax, which had previously been delayed in a January 2018 CR, as well as a repeal of the Cadillac tax, which was never allowed to take effect. These ACA tax repeals were estimated to cost $375 billion over 10 years (before interest).

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
FISA Reauthorization Needed   March 15, 2020   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.
Reauthorization of TANF & Related Programs Needed   May 22, 2020   TBD   Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Child Care Entitlement to States will expire under an extension that was included in the deal to fund the government for the rest of FY 2020.
Health Extenders   May 22, 2020   TBD   Various Medicare and Medicaid policies, including the community mental health services demonstration program and the delay of reductions to disproportionate share hospitals, will expire under the extensions that were included in the deal to fund the government for the rest of FY 2020.
Funding the Government / Appropriations   September 30, 2020   None if Congress abides by budget caps   Following a seven-week continuing resolution in September and a four-week CR in November, a deal to fund the government for the rest of FY 2020 passed the House on Dec. 17 and the Senate on Dec. 19. It was signed into law on Dec. 20.  Q&A: Everything You Should Know About Government Shutdowns
Appropriations Watch
National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Needed   September 30, 2020   TBD   The House and Senate extended the deadline in the November CR. An extension was included in the deal to fund the government for the rest of FY 2020. More on NFIP
Surface Transportation Law Expires   September 30, 2020   TBD   The 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act authorized roughly $280 billion over five years and extended highway and transit programs through FY 2020.
Paid Family Leave Credit Expires   December 31, 2020   $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. An extension through 2020 was included in the deal to fund the government for the rest of FY 2020.
 
Alcohol Taxes   December 31, 2020   $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. Extensions through 2020 were included in the deal to fund the government for the rest of FY 2020.
Medical Expense Deduction   December 31, 2020   $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). An extension through 2020 was included in the deal to fund the government for the rest of FY 2020.
“Tax Extenders” – 20+ tax breaks that routinely expire   December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2022   ~$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. Retroactive extensions running mostly through 2020 were included in the deal to fund the government for the rest of FY 2020. (A few extensions were provided through 2022.)

Longer-Term Deadlines

  • July 2021: Debt ceiling suspension expires
  • 2022: Highway Trust Fund exhaustion
  • 2022: Various tax provisions expire: amortization of research & experimentation costs, interest deduction rules
  • 2023: Full expensing tax phase-out begins; continues until 2027
  • 2025: Multiemployer Pension Insurance Fund exhaustion
  • 2026: TCJA individual income tax provisions expire; Export-Import Bank authorization expires
  • 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.