May 8, 2008
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TRANSPORTATION
Debate on FAA Reauthorization Postponed HTF Fix Not Completed
IMMIGRATION
House Holds Hearing on Electronic Employment Verification Systems and the Potential Impact on Social Security

  Debate on FAA Reauthorization Postponed HTF Fix Not Completed
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Tuesday pulled the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill from Senate consideration after a failed attempt to end a filibuster over concerns about non-aviation related items in the bill. It remains uncertain at this time whether there will be an attempt to work out a compromise and bring the bill back up for consideration at a later date. Authority for the aviation taxes has been temporarily extended until June.

Included in the bill was a provision – sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) – to supplement revenues into the Highway Trust Fund to assure that SAFETEA-LU authorized funding is fully available to states in fiscal year 2009.  Earlier this year, the U.S. Treasury forecast that revenues will fall short of meeting next year's SAFETEA-LU guaranteed funding by $3.3 billion.  As a result of this projected shortfall a cut of nearly $13.5 billion or 31 percent in FY 2009 funding is possible. The Baucus/Grassley fix would provide $5.1 billion in additional revenue to meet SAFETEA-LU commitments, with an additional cushion should HTF receipts decline further. 

AGC will continue to work with Senators Baucus and Grassley to find a legislative vehicle to enact this fix. It is important that your Members of Congress hear from you. It has become clear since the FAA bill debate began last week that most Senators and Representatives are unaware of the HTF's status and the consequences to their states if a fix is not put in place.

If you have not yet done so, please send a correspondence to your Senators and Representative about this issue.  You can email or fax a letter by going to AGC's Legislative Action Center.

For more information, contact Karen Bachman at (202) 547-4733 or bachmank@agc.org.
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  House Holds Hearing on Electronic Employment Verification Systems and the Potential Impact on Social Security
This week the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security held a hearing on legislation that would require employers to verify that their employees are eligible to work in the United States.  The hearing was focused on the possible affect on the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the ability of that agency to perform its main mission responsibilities. 

The Subcommittee heard testimony from various witnesses both on the general issue of the SSA’s ability to handle this additional workload as well as discussion of two specific bills – The Secure America through Verification and Enforcement Act (SAVE) and the New Employee Verification Act (NEVA).  Many witnesses and most of the Subcommittee members had strong reservations regarding the impact of adding employee verification to SSA’s mission.  There was also mixed reaction to the two bills.  AGC opposes the SAVE Act because it does not contain the core principles that AGC believes need to be part of any verification bill.  AGC is considering NEVA and how it might impact the construction industry. 

For more information, contact Kelly Knott at knottk@agc.org or (202) 547-4685. [ return to top ]