Social Impact Bond Bills Introduced in Congress

Two bills with bipartisan sponsorship have been introduced in Congress to expand social impact bonds. In the House, Reps. Todd Young (R-IN) and John Delaney (D-MD) introduced the Social Impact Bond Act (H.R. 4885) on June 18. A companion bill, called the Pay For Performance Act (S. 2691), was introduced by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) on July 30.

According to a summary of the House bill, it would provide a one-time $300 million appropriation to help cover the cost of assistance to states and local governments developing social impact bonds, including initial feasibility studies and subsequent evaluations to determine whether specified outcomes have been achieved. The bill also would create a new Federal Interagency Council on Social Impact Bonds to coordinate SIB activity at the national level.

The grant program would be overseen by the U.S. Treasury Department, but in consultation with the newly established council. To help generate private investment in SIBs, the bill also permits banks to count investments in SIB projects toward their requirements under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

The companion bill in the Senate is somewhat broader, covering not only SIBs but also other pay-for-performance projects. The two bills were referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee respectively.

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