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Upcoming Congressional Fiscal Policy Deadlines

Apr 9, 2020 | Budget Process

Updated 4/9/2020: On March 27, the President signed into law H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a $2.3 trillion stimulus package designed to help mitigate the fallout from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is the third and most expensive package lawmakers have passed to combat COVID-19. The CARES Act expands and extends unemployment benefits, incentivizes and compensates businesses to keep workers employed through loans and grants, makes mostly temporary changes to the tax code, and provides much-needed aid to the health care sector and other distressed industries. 

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 to buy time for action. Dates in red indicate past due deadlines.

Issue   Deadline   Potential 2020-2030 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.
Increased Unemployment Compensation Benefits Expire   July 31, 2020   TBD   The CARES Act provides an additional $600 per week to recipients of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. 
Funding the Government / Appropriations   September 30, 2020   None if Congress abides by budget caps   deal to fund the government for the rest of FY 2020 was signed into law on Dec. 20. Q&A: Everything You Should Know About Government ShutdownsAppropriations 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 2020More 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.
Paycheck Protection Program Expires   December 31, 2020   TBD   The CARES Act allows the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make loans to businesses with less than 500 employees, capped at $10 million. The loan will be fully forgiven if funds are spent on payroll, rent, mortgage interest, and utilities1.   
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program Expires    December 31, 2020   TBD   The CARES Act creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits and expands who is eligible, among other changes (Note that some UI recipients may exhaust all UI benefits before the deadline). 
Looser Caps on Interest Deductibility and Operating Losses Expire    December 31, 2020   TBD  

The CARES Act temporarily increases the business interest deduction limit from 30 percent to 50 percent of taxable income and temporarily suspends the taxable income limitation on Net Operating Losses (NOLs) and allows businesses to carry NOLs back five years.

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 2030

  Provisions from TCJA modifying the rates of taxation of beer, wine, and distilled spirits and certain other ruleswere originally scheduled to 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 allowed to expire for 2018 and not reinstated before tax filing for the year. Retroactive extensions running mostly through 2020 (a few through 2022) were included in the deal to fund the government for the rest of FY 2020.

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.


1 Under the Paycheck Protection Program, small businesses are eligible for loan forgiveness that's equal to the amount they spend on payroll, rent, mortgage interest, and utilities in the eight weeks after the loan is made. The forgiven amount cannot exceed the size of the loan, and the amount forgiven will be reduced if small businesses decrease the size of their workforce or reduce the pay of any employee by more than 25 percent of the employee's previous year's pay.