The Hill reports that President Obama signed a three-month highway funding extension (H.R. 3236, Pub.L. 114-41), while expressing irritation at Congress for their failure to pass a longer-term highway bill. The short-term bill passed the House on Wednesday by a vote of 385–34 and the Senate on Thursday by 91–4. Among the revenue offsets, there are changes to the due dates of various tax forms, including three which are relevant to the diaspora: Form 3520, Form 3520-A, and FBAR. (Hat tip to Socrates, who alerted us to the bill before it passed in a comment on Wednesday.)
Fortunately, the short-term law does not include Orrin Hatch’s persistent proposal to deny new U.S. passports to, and revoke existing passports of, people who do not provide SSNs. (It is not clear whether his proposal would affect passport applicants who never had SSNs in the first place.) That provision remains, however, in a longer-term highway funding bill which passed the Senate on Thursday. Brad Plumer at Vox summed up the situation: “Congress keeps finding increasingly absurd ways to avoid raising the gas tax”.
Also, just because Congress keeps trying to pick the pockets of the diaspora to pay for highways, it doesn’t mean that any of those highways are actually for the diaspora. My plans for a Christmas road trip from Seoul to Honolulu have been shattered once again.