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Congress Passes FY2018 Omnibus Spending Bill

Tristan North - Apr 27 2018
Published in: Public Policy
E-Verify reauthorized through September.

On 23 March, President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (H.R. 1625). Earlier that day, the U.S. Senate had passed H.R. 1625 by a vote of 65 to 32. The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1625 on 22 March by a vote of 256 to 167. Large blocks of members of both parties voted against the measure for different reasons. H.R. 1625 funds the federal government through the end of FY2018.

The enactment of H.R. 1625 ends almost six months of intermittent negotiations beyond the 1 October 2017, start of Fiscal Year 2018. During that period, the Congress passed several short-term continuing resolutions to keep the federal government operating with one instance of a partial government shutdown for approximately eight hours. The Congress has used the various FY2018 funding mechanisms to pass additional policies and H.R. 1625 was no exception.

In addition to providing funding for federal agencies, H.R. 1625 included several other high-profile priorities of the Congress and the Administration. The bill provides approximately $4 billion in funding to address the opioid crisis, $2.3 billion in funding toward school safety and $1.6 billion toward border security. The $1.3 trillion package also includes additional funding for the IRS to implement the tax reform package signed by the President late last year. The package did not include an agreement on Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) which congressional Democrats had sought. This is why a large number of House Democrats and some Senate Democrats opposed all funding vehicles including the Omnibus.

Of interest to the mobility industry, the new law reauthorizes several immigration programs through 30 September, one of which is E-Verify, which is the online system for employers to confirm employment eligibility in the U.S. through comparing employee information against records at the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security. The EB-5 Regional Centers Program would automatically be reauthorized as well. The EB-5 program provides green cards for non-U.S. citizens who make investments between $500,000 in high unemployment areas and $1 million in other areas and create 10 or more jobs. 

The overall funding levels of H.R. 1625 adhere to the agreement reached between congressional Republicans and Democrats in February for budgets for FY2018 and FY2019. While Congress has now provided funding through the end of FY2018, it now must address funding for FY2019 by 1 October.

How This Will Impact Mobility

A partial federal government shutdown impacts workforce mobility in several areas. Social Security Administration field offices would not be able to process Social Security number applications, IRS employees would not be able to verify for lenders the income of burrowers and the processing of visas, and green cards would be delayed.