Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) spoke back-to-back on the Senate Floor Thursday morning, as the EB-5 reform issue goes down to the wire. The program’s authorization expires on September 30. Some in Congress are pushing for a simple extension of the program. Leahy and Grassley are insisting on reforms, if the program is to go forward at all. Leahy originally had been a major supporter and architect of the foreign investor program going back to the 1990s. But alleged fraud cases in Vermont and elsewhere and the gerrymandering of EB-5 zones has led him to be a reformer of the program. EB-5 zones are intended for poorer parts of the country, but are now turning up in Manhattan and Miami Beach. In their tandem remarks on the Senate Floor, the senators said they will not support a simple extension of EB-5 without reform. Leahy has made this clear many times earlier this year. Leahy Thursday went further to say that he will oppose the forthcoming CR (the stop-gap government funding bill that’s the last big must-pass bill of this session…which ends in just a few days) if it includes a simple extension and not the reforms that Leahy, Grassley and their House allies have been pressing for.
Grassley is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Leahy is the Ranking Member. For years Leahy and Grassley have been pushing for EB-5 reforms on which they have held hearings introduced reform legislation.
I come to the floor today, joined by Senator Grassley, to share my concerns about the EB-5 Regional Center program. This program’s authorization is set to expire at the end of the month, but Senate leadership wants to extend the EB-5 program as part of the continuing resolution. If this flawed program is not reformed, I believe it should end. I can no longer support a straight extension of this program.
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