February 28, 2008
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IMMIGRATION
New House Electronic Employee Verification Bill Introduced—AGC Weighing Legislation’s Impact
MUNICIPAL & UTILITIES
Congressman Blumenauer to Introduce AGC-backed Water Trust Fund Legislation
TRANSPORTATION
Governors Unite Nationwide to Address Transportation Funding
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Contractors and Administration Officials Raise Concerns on Federal Contracting Bills

  New House Electronic Employee Verification Bill Introduced—AGC Weighing Legislation’s Impact

On February 28, the House introduced the New Employee Verification Act calling for mandatory employer participation in one of two electronic employee verification systems. This bill would require employers to participate in either a program based on the current E-Verify system run through DHS or a new, privately-run program that would be based on biometric indicators. 

AGC is reviewing the bill to determine its impact on construction employers. An initial review shows some strong preempting state and local immigration language to release general contractors of liability for their subcontractor’s employees, with the exception of general contractors that possess knowledge of subcontractor’s illegal hiring practices. AGC will review the rest of the bill to see what other provisions are included in the legislation. 
 
For more information, contact Kelly Knott at knottk@agc.org or (202) 547-4685. [ return to top ]

  Congressman Blumenauer to Introduce AGC-backed Water Trust Fund Legislation

AGC joined Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and interested industry officials at a water funding conference at the Library of Congress this week. 

Blumenauer and Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) revealed plans to introduce legislation in the near future to begin to address the $300 to $500 billion funding shortfall facing the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure over the next 20 years.  The bill will be based on legislation proposed by AGC in concert with its coalition partners in the Water Infrastructure Network.  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was recently tasked with examining potential funding sources for such a trust fund.  A broad-based mix of funding sources is anticipated. 

For more information, contact Stu Megaw at (703) 837-5321 or megaws@agc.org. 
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  Governors Unite Nationwide to Address Transportation Funding

Twelve U.S. governors have joined governors Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.) to support the “Building America’s Future” coalition launched in January with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I).  The coalition is comprised of elected officials, is intended to highlight the nation’s infrastructure needs and advocate for practical and innovative solutions for transportation funding.

During this week’s meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C. governors met with President Bush and Congress in hopes of creating a second economic stimulus package that would include infrastructure investment.  Addressing the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure with funding increases would serve as an immediate economic boost to the economy. 
 
The prospects for a second stimulus with infrastructure is slim due to the President’s opposition and Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters saying transportation projects are unable to provide immediate economic help. AGC believes that infrastructure investment is a better alternative to one-time rebate checks, and will continue to look for ways to include funding if a second stimulus package is necessary. 
 
Additionally, AGC is building a strategic grassroots campaign for the next highway reauthorization. The campaign will focus on improving the image of public transportation investment and will promote it as the essential link between government investment, increased efficiency and economic growth.  The campaign is not a single year or single reauthorization effort, but a sustained effort to build a motivated, coordinated grassroots campaign with credibility and influence to reach federal, state and local decision makers. AGC is currently recruiting members to join the campaign through online enrollment.

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

  Contractors and Administration Officials Raise Concerns on Federal Contracting Bills

The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization and Procurement held a hearing on three bills this week: the Government Contractor Accountability Act (H.R. 3928), sponsored by Representative Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.); the Contractors and Federal Spending Accountability Act (H.R. 3033), co-sponsored by Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Chairman Edolphus Towns (D-NY); and the Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2007 (H.R. 4881), sponsored by Representative Brad Elsworth (D-Ind.).

Representatives of federal contractors and a Bush administration official raised concerns over potential unintended consequences of pending contracting reform legislation. H.R. 3928 would require contractors to disclose the names and salaries of its most highly compensated officers if more than 80 percent of the company's annual revenue comes from federal contracts and if the company holds contracts worth more than $5 million in any fiscal year.

Currently, while the compensation of heads of publicly held companies is widely available, private companies are not obligated to fully disclose that information. H.R. 3033 would mandate the creation of a government-wide database of information on contractor performance and misconduct, while H.R. 4881 would prohibit awards of contracts or grants in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold unless the prospective contractor or grantee certifies in writing to the agency awarding the contract or grant that the contractor or grantee has no seriously delinquent tax debts.

Although no immediate actions on these bills are anticipated, AGC will work with Committee staff and allies to educate members on our opposition to this legislation.

For more information, contact Perry L. Fowler at fowlerp@agc.org or (202) 547-1983.

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