Originally published on Senator Stanton's website here.
Reps. Greg Stanton and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania introduced a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program, which supports job creation and promotes economic development in rural or high unemployment areas by incentivizing foreign capital investment.
The bill would reauthorize the program—which is just 70 days away from expiration—through 2026 and provide additional transparency and integrity measures to improve accountability of applicants, Regional Centers, and economic development projects. The bill would require the Department of Homeland Security to perform regular audits of the regional centers that sponsor EB-5 construction projects, as well as visit those projects. “We know the EB-5 program can attract foreign investment and create new jobs—lifting our economy and making us more globally competitive,” said Rep. Stanton, former mayor of Phoenix. “This bipartisan bill—with leadership from our colleagues in the Senate—we are addressing vulnerabilities the EB-5 program faced in the past and including integrity measures so that it functions as Congress intended. The reauthorization of the EB-5 program is critical to our nation’s economic growth and I look forward to this bill becoming law.”
“As a longtime proponent of the EB-5 Regional Center Program, I’ve seen firsthand how the program has been a powerful tool for our nation’s economic development. This bipartisan reauthorization represents Congress and the business community coming together to ensure communities across the country can continue to access capital for critical projects while increasing needed oversight and integrity measures to root out fraud and abuse,” Rep. Fitzpatrick added.
The EB-5 Regional Center Program was created to attract investments from foreign individuals who meet specific capital and job creation requirements. EB-5 investments have filled funding gaps and have provided a critical source of capital for local economic development projects that create and support jobs, infrastructure, and services across the country. Since its inception, the EB-5 Program has drawn in more than $200 million in capital investment from around the globe to support Arizona businesses and created at least 11,100 job opportunities for Arizona workers.
A 2015 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report describes the lack of rigorous oversight of the EB-5 regional center program, specifically how the agency fails to analyze risks, continuously assess fraud and accurately measure economic benefits.
The House bill introduced this week is the companion to S.831, which was introduced in the Senate last month by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont). Both bills have earned the endorsement of the Coalition to Save and Create Jobs and Invest in the USA, the only non-profit trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center Program.