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Upcoming Congressional Fiscal Policy Deadlines

Sep 19, 2019 | Budget Process

Updated 9/19/2019: Congress enacted legislation in August to address discretionary spending caps, which had impeded work on FY 2020 appropriations earlier this year. An agreement to raise the discretionary spending caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021 was enacted before Congress left for summer recess. Although Congress has resumed appropriations work upon its return in September, lawmakers are unlikely to complete action on appropriations before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. The House passed a continuing resolution (CR)  on Thursday that would fund the government through Nov. 21. The Senate, meanwhile, has attempted to advance appropriations through a package of four appropriations bills, but those efforts are currently stalled.

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   $1 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.
“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.
Reauthorization of TANF & Related Programs Needed   September 30, 2019   TBD   Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Child Care Entitlement to States will expire under a three-month extension enacted in late June.
National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Needed   September 30, 2019   TBD   The House and Senate extended the deadline for another three and a half months in the disaster supplemental enacted in early June. More on NFIP
Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Needed   September 30, 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.
Funding the Government / Appropriations   October 1, 2019   None if Congress abides by budget caps   Congress passed full appropriations for the remaining seven appropriations bills for the rest of FY 2019 on February 15. Lawmakers must complete work on appropriations or enact a continuing resolution before FY 2020 begins. The House passed a seven-week CR on 9/19 by a 301-123 vote. Q&A: Everything You Should Know About Government Shutdowns
Appropriations Watch
FISA Reauthorization Needed   December 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.
Paid Family Leave Credit Expires   December 31, 2019   $1 billion for 1 year; $25 billion if extended permanently       The 2017 tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), created a paid leave credit 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.