Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
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Upcoming Congressional Fiscal Policy Deadlines

Dec 8, 2021 | Budget Process

Updated 12/8/21: The House passed legislation related to expediting action on the debt limit, statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) sequestration, and end-of-the-year health care provisions the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 7, by a 222-212 vote. The Senate must still act on the measure, and both chambers must still separately pass legislation increasing the debt limit before Treasury funds are exhausted, likely before the end of December.The Treasury Department has estimated that extraordinary measures preventing a breach of the debt limit could become depleted as early as Dec. 15. Proponents of action on the PAYGO and health care measures before the end of the month argue that failure to do so could result in major, automatic cuts to mandatory spending programs and reductions in payments to Medicare providers.

Previously, Congress enacted a short-term, $480 billion debt limit extension, expected to last until at least mid-December and likely into late 2021, in October. That debt limit action followed uncertainty over whether the Senate would be able to pass any debt limit bill, as the chamber had been unable to advance multiple versions of House-passed debt limit legislation. The Treasury Department had estimated that extraordinary measures preventing a breach of the debt limit would become exhausted on Oct. 18.

The House passed a new FY 2022 continuing resolution through Feb. 18, 2022, on Thursday, Dec. 2, by a 221-212 vote. The Senate passed it later in that evening by a 69-28 vote, and the President signed it the next day. Congress needed to either complete appropriations work or pass another continuing resolution by the end of the night of Friday, Dec. 3. Previously, Congress enacted a continuing resolution on Thursday, Sept. 30.

President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Monday, Nov. 15, reauthorizing highway and transit programs through FY 2026. The measure passed the Senate on Aug. 10 by a 69-30 vote and the House on Nov. 5 by a 228-206 vote. The last multi-year reauthorization, the 2015 Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, expired at the end of FY 2020, and the programs had since been running on a series of extensions. The new infrastructure law also makes additional transfers of money to the Highway Trust Fund, preventing insolvency that had otherwise been projected in FY 2022.

On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, enacted through budget reconciliation, which includes an extension of expanded unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, enhanced tax credits for families, and a range of other programs designed to respond to the economic and public health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. In late December, lawmakers enacted a combined omnibus appropriations bill and COVID-19 relief package that funded the government, included tax and health extenders, extended programs such as TANF, and provided more than $900 billion in support for individuals, businesses, and institutions affected by the pandemic. Both the reconciliation and the December spending packages set up many of the deadlines described below.

The next few years will include several predictable fiscal policy deadlines that will force congressional action. Many provisions providing COVID relief are expiring either in September or at the end of the year. Many of the regular non-COVID 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. 

Issue Deadline More Information
Foreclosure Moratorium July 31, 2021/September 30, 2021 In January, Biden asked certain federal departments to consider extending foreclosure moratoriums for federally-guaranteed mortgages and continuing applications for forbearance, which the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) formally announced in February. The Biden administration subsequently announced extensions through June and through July. The most recent policies also include an extension of the time period for homeowners to start new forbearance plans, to September 30, and a new COVID-19 Advance Loan Modification.
Eviction Moratorium August 26, 2021 Centers for Disease Control-imposed moratorium on all evictions from residential properties was extended in December and then extended multiple times by the Biden administration. A June Supreme Court opinion found that specific congressional authorization would be necessary to extend it past July. While the House asked for unanimous consent on an extension bill on July 30 and a similar bill has been introduced in the Senate, neither version has advanced. On Aug. 3, the CDC announced a more limited two-month extension that would apply to counties experiencing "substantial or high rates" of COVID-19 transmission, but a late August Supreme Court opinion effectively also ended that policy.
Increased Unemployment Compensation Benefits September 6, 2021 The CARES Act provided an additional $600 per week to recipients of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The December COVID relief and omnibus package extended benefits at a level of $300 per week into March, and the American Rescue Plan further extended them through early September. 
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program  September 6, 2021 The CARES Act created temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs that provide an additional 13 weeks of benefits and expand who is eligible, among other changes. The December COVID relief and omnibus package extended PUA and PEUC into the spring. The American Rescue Plan further extended the programs through early September. Other unemployment policies also expire on Sept. 6.
COVID-Related Paid Sick Leave September 30, 2021 The Families First Act required small employers and governments to offer two weeks of paid sick leave and an additional 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave for employees who are unable to work due to COVID. Private sector employers were reimbursed via payroll tax credits. The December COVID relief and omnibus package extended the tax credits (not the requirement) through March, and the American Rescue Plan modified and further extended them through the end of September. (This policy is separate from the paid family leave originally enacted in 2017 that currently expires at the end of 2025.)
Debt Ceiling December 15, 2021 to late December The Senate passed a short-term, $480 billion debt limit extension, expected to last at least into mid-December and likely into late December or early 2022, on October 7 by a 50-48 vote, and the House cleared it for the President on October 12 by a 219-206 vote. The President signed the bill on October 14, four days ahead of the October 18 deadline on which the Treasury Department warned that so-called “extraordinary measures” would be exhausted. Treasury has since issued a letter to Congress stating that the legislation would allow the department to finance government operations through December 15. On December 7, the House passed a bill to expedite consideration of a debt limit increase, including by waiving certain procedural votes that usually require a 60-vote majority in the Senate, by a 222-212 vote. The procedural vote still needs to pass the Senate, and both chambers must separately pass a debt limit increase, likely by the end of December.  
Coronavirus Relief Fund for States & Localities December 31, 2021

The CARES Act created a $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund for states, local governments, tribes, and territories. State and local governments must spend or lose remaining funds given to them by the end of 2021, under an extension provided in the December COVID relief and omnibus package.

Payroll Tax Deferral December 31, 2021 An August executive order allowed employers to defer paying the employee portion of Social Security taxes for September through December, with the amount to be repaid between January and April 2021. The December COVID relief and omnibus package extends the repayment period through the end of the year. 
Employee Retention Credit December 31, 2021 Affected employers can receive a refundable payroll tax credit for up to $10,000 of wages per employee. The December COVID relief and omnibus package extended the credit through June and modified it by allowing businesses with PPP loans to qualify, and the American Rescue Plan enacted in March modified and further extended the credit through the end of the year.
Enhanced Child Tax Credit December 31, 2021 The American Rescue Plan enacted in March temporarily increased the child tax credit to $3,000 for children 6 and older and $3,600 for children under the age of 6 and provided for periodic advance payments of the refundable portion of the credit. These enhancements expire at the end of 2021.
Enhanced Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit December 31, 2021

The American Rescue Plan enacted in March temporarily increased the maximum rate for the credit for employment-related child and dependent care expenses to 50 percent, from 35 percent, and modified the phaseout to allow more families to use it. It increases the income level at which the credit rate begins to phase down to $125,000, from $15,000, and increases the limitations on care expenses to $8,000, from $3,000, for one individual and to $16,000, from $6,000, for multiple individuals. 

Charitable Deductions;  rollover of Health & Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account funds  December 31, 2021 The CARES Act temporarily increased the amount of charitable contributions that can be deducted to 100 percent of income (up from 60 percent) for individuals. It also created a temporary above-the-line charitable deduction of up to $300 for donations made in 2020. The December COVID relief and omnibus package extended these provisions for an additional year, and it also allows workers with health and dependent care flexible spending accounts to roll over remaining funds from 2020 into 2021 or from 2021 into 2022. 
“Tax Extenders” – about 20 tax breaks that routinely expire December 31, 2021 Several tax extenders were either made permanent or extended for five years under the December COVID relief and omnibus package. About 20, however, will expire again next year, including some that benefit individuals, alternative energy, and other businesses. 
Emergency Injury Disaster Loans Advance Grants December 31, 2021 The December COVID relief and omnibus package included year-long extensions of Emergency EIDL grants of up to $10,000 per business.
Medicare Radiation Oncology Rules December 31, 2021 A delay to the implementation of the radiation oncology model under the Medicare program would expire. The December COVID relief and omnibus package provided for a statutory six-month additional delay, in addition to the delay announced by CMS. The change is intended to give providers more time to adapt to the new payment system. On December 7, the House passed a bill to delay the radiation oncology rules until 2023, by a 222-212 vote. The Senate must still act on the measure.  
Delay of 2% Medicare Sequester and Physician Bonus Payments December 31, 2021 The December 2020 COVID relief and omnibus package delayed the 2 percent Medicare sequester cuts that were supposed to resume January 1, 2021, for three additional months, and provided a temporary 3.75 percent Medicare physician bonus to assist medical practices with COVID-related shutdowns. Legislation to again delay the sequester was enacted in the spring, ultimately extending the policy through the end of the year. On December 7, the House passed a bill to extend the Medicare physician bonus payment at 3 percent in 2022 and delay the Medicare sequester until the second half of FY 2022, by a 222-212 vote. The Senate must still act on the measure.  
Statutory PAYGO December 31, 2021 Statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules provide for an across-the-board sequester of non-exempt mandatory spending programs if lawmakers enact net deficit-increasing legislation over the course of the year. Whenever lawmakers enact legislation affecting mandatory spending or revenues, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) records the budgetary effect of the law, divides the ten-year effect, and puts that amount on the PAYGO scorecard for each of the ten years. If Congress adjourns for the year with deficit increases still on the PAYGO scorecard, OMB issues an offsetting sequester. Lawmakers could address statutory PAYGO effects stemming from the American Rescue Plan or subsequent legislation through a separate vote subject to a 60-vote threshold in the Senate or face a sequester large enough to eliminate certain mandatory programs. Legislation that passed the House on March 19 included an exemption of the American Rescue Plan from the PAYGO scorecard. On December 7, the House passed a bill to deduct any sequestration total from the 2022 scorecard and add it to the 2023 scorecard, by a 222-212 vote. The Senate must still act on the measure.  
Student Loan Executive Order January 31, 2022 After the CARES Act suspended payments for federal student loans, an August 2020 executive order provided for continued student loan deferral and 0% interest rate, which was later extended to January 31. In January, President Biden asked the Department of Education to further extend it through September. In August, the Biden administration announced an additional extension through January, for a total extension of nearly 22 months.
Funding the Government / Appropriations February 18, 2022 An omnibus combined with the COVID relief package, which funded the government for the rest of FY 2021, was signed into law in late December 2020 and set the funding levels on which most federal programs are still currently running. In early December, Congress enacted a continuing resolution to fund the government until Feb. 18, 2022, after which congressional leaders hope to complete work on FY 2022 appropriations. Q&A: Everything You Should Know About Government ShutdownsAppropriations Watch
National Flood Insurance Program Authorization Expires February 18, 2022 A short-term flood insurance extension was included in the December 2021 CRMore on NFIP
Authorization of TANF & Related Programs Expires February 18, 2022 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Child Care Entitlement to States were extended for roughly two months in the December 2021 CR

Longer-Term Deadlines

  • End of 2022: Full expensing tax phase-out begins; ends completely in 2027. Various tax provisions expire: amortization of research & experimentation costs, interest deduction rules, business meals deduction, energy investment tax credit for solar and residential energy-efficient property.
  • End of 2023: Moratorium on payment under the Medicare physician fee schedule for complex services described by Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code G2211 expires, various Medicare extenders expire.
  • End of 2024: Current Medicare physician Alternative Payment Model (APM) thresholds expire (based on performance year 2022). 
  • End of 2025: TCJA individual income tax provisions expire; TCJA paid family leave credit expires; employer-paid student loans income exclusion expires; multiple tax extenders expire such as Empowerment Zones incentives, film and live performances expensing, and the wind energy investment tax credit; health extenders including the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration program.
  • FY 2026: Medicare Hospital Insurance (Part A) Trust Fund exhaustion
  • End of FY 2026: Surface transportation programs authorization provided by Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act expires; Export-Import Bank authorization expires
  • 2033: Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund exhaustion (combined OASI and SSDI exhaustion date is 2034)
  • 2057: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Trust Fund exhaustion

The Highway Trust Fund exhaustion dates are estimates provided by the Congressional Budget Office. The Social Security and Medicare dates are estimates provided by their respective trustees.