Sens. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) have been struggling for over a year to win support for an overhaul of the EB-5 visa program, which gives green cards to up to 10,000 foreign investors a year.
Now they say they would rather see the program die than continue as is.
The chairman and ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee said on the Senate floor Thursday that they are opposed to extending a key provision of EB-5 as part of the continuing resolution, a temporary government funding authorization before Congress this week.
“The time has come–either reform EB-5 or get rid of it,” Mr. Leahy said.
The program has become a well-used tool by real estate developers, particularly those in large cities like New York, who bundle together dozens to hundreds of foreign investors who invest $500,000 each, typically in the form of low-cost loans. The result is that many high-profile skyscrapers are funded in part through the EB-5 program.
The logjam has been a fight between the two senators and these developers–as well as their supporters in Congress, the most vocal of which has been Sen. Charles Schumer.
The developers are using a provision of the program meant to aid economically struggling areas, even though their projects are often in some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country. (More on that practice, known as gerrymandering, here). Messrs. Grassley and Leahy are strongly opposed to this practice, calling it an abuse that takes money away from projects in rural and low-income neighborhoods, and Mr. Grassley said the issue is “at the heart” of the controversy over EB-5.
Congress late last year failed to reach an accord when a key provision of the program was expiring, so the program was extended until Sept. 30. Lobbyists and others involved have been expecting it to once again be extended past the presidential election.
But Messrs. Grassley and Leahy appear to be betting they’ll have better luck trying to overhaul it if it’s dead.
Mr. Grassley said he hopes Congressional leaders “will find a way to include reforms in the continuing resolution or simply leave it off the table for a later date.”
Of course, if it does expire, it’s not clear there’s life after death.
Mr. Grassley noted in his floor speech that many in the Senate there are “a lot of powerful senators in this body who think this program should be done away with.”
- New York
Subscribe for News
Join Professionals on EB5Projects.com →
This website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to sell shares or securities. Any such offer or solicitation will be made only by means of an investment's confidential Offering Memorandum and in accordance with the terms of all applicable securities and other laws. This website does not constitute or form part of, and should not be construed as, any offer for sale or subscription of, or any invitation to offer to buy or subscribe for, any securities, nor should it or any part of it form the basis of, or be relied on in any connection with, any contract or commitment whatsoever. EB5Projects.com LLC and its affiliates expressly disclaim any and all responsibility for any direct or consequential loss or damage of any kind whatsoever arising directly or indirectly from: (i) reliance on any information contained in the website, (ii) any error, omission or inaccuracy in any such information or (iii) any action resulting therefrom.