Volume 4 -- Issue 44 -- November 29, 2007
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Federal Contracting
AGC Recommendations Adopted in New Ethics Rule; Second Proposal Issued
Three Weeks Remain for Congress to Work on Important AGC Issues
Congressional Retirements Continue
Highway Funding Bill Veto Possible—Act Now

  AGC Recommendations Adopted in New Ethics Rule; Second Proposal Issued

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council finalized a rule on November 23, which goes into effect December 24, requiring most federal contractors and subcontractors to adopt and promote a code of business ethics and to post a hotline that their employees can use to report any wrongdoing.

AGC was the only trade association in the construction industry to respond when the FAR Council proposed this rule.

Click here to learn more about AGC’s impact.

For more information, please contact Marco Giamberardino at giamberm@agc.org or (703) 837-5325. [ return to top ]

  Three Weeks Remain for Congress to Work on Important AGC Issues

Congress returns to Washington on December 3. Among the must-pass items important to AGC members is an appropriations agreement: either a short term solution to extend into the new year or a long term proposal to get through 2008. Only one of 12 appropriations bills has been signed into law (Defense appropriations) and virtually all of the remaining bills have presidential veto threats on them based on excessive spending or policy concerns.

The alternative minimum tax (AMT) is set to hit thousands of middle class families if Congress does not approve a one year “patch” which would retain the status quo. 

The House is expected to bring to the floor the Supplemental Mine Improvement Act (S-MINER). This legislation would require the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to forward all Recommended Exposure Limits (RELs) for air contaminants to the Secretary of Labor.  The S-MINER Act would set an unacceptable precedent by circumventing the comment and rulemaking process and preventing the right of regulated industries to comment on proposed rulemakings which affect their businesses.

The Democrat majority also wants to vote on an energy package and a farm bill. AGC remains engaged during the final Congressional session ensuring your voice is heard through last minute negotiations.

For more information, contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org or (202) 547-2133. [ return to top ]

  Congressional Retirements Continue

Congressional retirements continued this week when Senator Trent Lott (R-Miss.), the former majority leader, announced he would leave the Senate before the end of the year, only a year after running for reelection. 

Some see this as a sign that compromise has been lost in the Senate, like the House, with decisions now being made along party lines and at the behest of party leaders.  Lott is well known for his ability to make a deal between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, including successfully negotiating major welfare reform, the Balanced Budget Act, and this year's unsuccessful but noteworthy attempt on immigration reform.

This announcement comes just days after former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) announced he would also retire before the end of the year.  Already seven of the 49 Republican senators who started the 110th Congress won't be running for re-election.  The latest news has opened an important leadership position for the Republican party in the Senate, a position they hope to fill on December 6.
Lott had been a steady ally of AGC and had accumulated an 86 percent AGC Vote Record over his 34 years in Congress, 24 years as a Senator and 10 as a Representative from Mississippi.

For more information, contact Elisa Brewer at brewere@agc.org or (202) 547-5013. [ return to top ]

  Highway Funding Bill Veto Possible—Act Now

Prior to the Thanksgiving recess the House approved the transportation appropriations legislation by a vote of 270 to 147. Many of AGC’s traditional allies voted against the bill. The Senate may take up the bill in the next two weeks and is expected to also support the bill. However, President Bush has said he will veto the bill setting up a possible Congressional veto override. If the Senate fails to act, the transportation funding bill could also be included in an omnibus appropriations measure.

Under either scenario, a funding increase for your state’s highway construction program is at stake. The President wants funding provided for FY 2008 (which began on October 1) at a level below the authorized level in SAFETEA-LU. The President also objects to $1 billion of additional funding provided to address structurally deficient bridges. If the bill is included as part of an omnibus appropriations measure it is likely to be subject to an across the board spending cut.

AGC’s first priority is a veto-proof vote in the Senate. AGC urges you to support a free standing transportation funding bill at the level contained in the conference agreement. Send a letter through the AGC Legislative Action Center. 

While the House vote was strong, it was a few votes short of the constitutional two-thirds margin necessary to override President Bush's promised veto. It is important that the favorable voters continue to support highway investment and that those who voted against the bill change their vote. It is vital that your House member and other House members in your state hear from you, particularly those who voted against the bill. See how your Representative and other Representatives voted and send them a message.

For more information, contact Brian Deery at deeryb@agc.org or (703) 837-5319.


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