Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
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Upcoming Congressional Fiscal Policy Deadlines

Dec 22, 2021 | Budget Process

Updated 12/22/21: The White House an additional three-month delay in student loan repayment on Wednesday, Dec. 22. The pause on repayments would have otherwise ended at the end of January.

President Biden signed legislation to increase the debt limit by $2.5 trillion on Thursday, Dec. 16. The Senate passed the measure on Tuesday, Dec. 14, by a 50-49 vote, under expedited procedures, and the House cleared the measure for the President early Wednesday morning, by a 221-209 vote. Previously, President Biden signed legislation related to expediting action on the debt limit, statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) sequestration, and end-of-the-year health care provisions on Friday, Dec. 10. The Senate passed the measure on Thursday, Dec. 9, after the House passed it the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 7. Both chambers needed to still separately pass legislation increasing the debt limit before exhaustion of Treasury funds, possibly before the end of December. The Treasury Department had estimated that extraordinary measures preventing a breach of the debt limit could become depleted as early as Dec. 15.

The House passed a second 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. Earlier in the fall, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, reauthorizing highway and transit programs through FY 2026, averting a shutdown of transportation programs, ending a series of extensions since the end of FY 2020, and preventing insolvency to the Highway Trust Fund through additional transfers of money. 

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 2020, 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
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. 
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. 
TCJA Rules Tighten December 31, 2021 Major tax provisions included in the 2017 tax bill, commonly known as TCJA, that were intended to raise revenue take effect. Beginning in 2022, businesses will be required to amortize their research & experimentation costs over five years rather than fully deduct them. In addition, business interest deduction rules are scheduled to tighten to 30 percent of earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rather than earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).
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.
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
Student Loan Executive Order May 1, 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. President Biden asked the Department of Education to further extend it through September and then an additional extension through January, for a total extension of nearly 22 months. In late December, Biden announced a further three-month extension until May.
Delay of 2% Medicare Sequester March 31, 2022/June 30, 2022 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. 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 delay the Medicare sequester until the second half of FY 2022, by a 222-212 vote. The Senate passed the legislation on Dec. 9 by a 59-35 vote, and the President signed it on Dec. 10. Under the recent legislation, the Medicare sequester would be completely delayed until the end of March 2022, then reduced to 1 percent (from 2 percent) through June 30, 2022.
Medicare Radiation Oncology Rules December 31, 2022 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 passed the legislation on Dec. 9 by a 59-35 vote
Medicare Physician Bonus Payments December 31, 2022 The December 2020 COVID relief and omnibus package provided a temporary 3.75 percent Medicare physician bonus to assist medical practices with COVID-related shutdowns. On December 7, the House passed a bill to extend the Medicare physician bonus payment at 3 percent in 2022, by a 222-212 vote. The Senate passed the legislation on Dec. 9 by a 59-35 vote, and the President signed it on Dec. 10. 
Other Tax Phase-Outs & Expirations December 31, 2022

The full expensing tax preference included in TCJA begins to phaseout in 2023 and ends completely by the beginning of 2027. Other policies expire completely, including the business meals deduction.

Statutory PAYGO December 2022 or January 2023 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 passed the legislation on Dec. 9 by a 59-35 vote, and the President signed it on Dec. 10. Because statutory PAYGO requires OMB to issue a sequestration order within 15 days of the end of a congressional session, the cuts could now take effect in either December 2022 or January 2023.

Longer-Term Deadlines

  • Early 2023: Debt ceiling will likely need to be raised or suspended after a $2.5 trillion debt limit increase enacted in December 2021 is exhausted.
  • 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; tax provisions such as the energy investment tax credit for solar and residential energy-efficient property 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.

Expired deadlines include the foreclosure moratorium (on July 31 for the general moratorium and on September 30 for starting new forebearance plans), the eviction moratorium (on August 26 following a Supreme Court opinion that effectively ended even a more limited version of the policy), increased unemployment compensation benefits (on September 6), the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs (on September 6), and COVID-related paid sick leave reimbursed via payroll tax credits (on September 30), and the employee retention credit that provided a refundable payroll tax credit for up to $10,000 of wages per employee (on September 30).