August 14, 2008
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ENERGY
Congress, White House, and AGC Leaders Discuss Energy Policy
LABOR
AGC Comments on Proposed Rule Requiring Federal Contractors to Use E-Verify
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC Expresses Grave Concerns Over Army Corps Reverse Auction Solicitation
HIGHWAY
New FHA Administrator Has Positive History with AGC

  Congress, White House, and AGC Leaders Discuss Energy Policy

On Tuesday, AGC Leaders met with President Bush to discuss energy policy and the impact of rising construction materials prices. AGC President, Douglas E. Barnhart (J. Reese Construction, Inc; San Diego, Calif.) and Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC CEO joined business leaders from the Coalition for Affordable American Energy (CAAE) to discuss the impact of the rising cost of energy on their industries and their businesses, and to urge Congress to remove the Congressional ban on offshore drilling. AGC leaders specifically addressed the increase in construction materials costs which are resulting in a reduction in projects and causing job uncertainty in the industry. Bush said that the activities of the coalition, "have worked to increase the pressure on Congress."

Despite the annual August congressional recess, the U.S. House and Senate continue to discuss and debate energy policy. In a highly unusual measure, House Republicans took to the house floor to protest the adjournment by making speeches and demanding that the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) allow a vote on energy legislation. Pelosi has weakened her position, in response to overwhelming public support of offshore drilling, to allow votes on energy legislation when the House reconvenes.

In the Senate, an attempt by a bipartisan group of 10 senators is urging a compromise that would both permit off-shore drilling and encourage alternatives and renewable energy. However, the proposal includes significant business taxes and the compromise is so limited and over-regulated that it will be ineffective. AGC urges both houses of Congress to find a compromise energy policy that includes increases in domestic production, generation, refinery and transmission capacity.

AGC members are encouraged to use the alert on the Legislative Action Center  to contact their elected officials and urge them to pass a comprehensive energy plan, allow increased domestic oil exploration, and adequately invest in existing energy producing resources.

For more information, contact Heidi Blumenthal at blumenthalh@agc.org or (202) 547-8892.
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  AGC Comments on Proposed Rule Requiring Federal Contractors to Use E-Verify

This week, AGC submitted comments on the proposed rule which would require federal contractors to use the E-Verify electronic employment eligibility system for all new hires and some existing employees.  The proposed rule was issued on June 12, 2008, by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council and would require:

1.     Contractors to enroll in the E-Verify program within 30 days of contract award and verify the employment eligibility of all new employees hired after enrollment in E-Verify, and continued use of the E-Verify program for the life of the contract;
2.     Contractors to provide a flow-down clause in subcontracts over $3,000 for services or for construction contracts;
3.     Contractors and subcontractors to use E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all existing employees who are directly engaged in the performance of work under the covered contract; and,
4.     Federal agencies to amend existing indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts to include the clause for future orders if the remaining period of performance extends at least six months after the effective date of the final rule.
 
Overall, AGC found that the proposed rule makes far more changes than are acknowledged by the FAR Council and would create many complications that the Council did not contemplate.

For more information, contact Marco Giamberardino at giamberardinom@agc.org or (703) 837-5325, or Kelly Knott at knottk@agc.org or (202) 547-4685.
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  AGC Expresses Grave Concerns Over Army Corps Reverse Auction Solicitation

Last week, AGC CEO Steve Sandherr sent a letter to Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp, Commanding General and Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), expressing the Association’s concerns over plans by the Hurricane Protection Office (HPO) to procure, via reverse auction, a significant amount of clay in order to fulfill the needs of the massive recovery efforts in New Orleans and south Louisiana.

The notice stated that the solicitation would be a “supply contract” and that “reverse auctioning” may be utilized to evaluate price. During the pre-solicitation phase, many AGC members communicated to USACE Headquarters, the HPO and to the points of contact for the administration of this solicitation numerous concerns over the potential utilization of a reverse auction as a primary procurement tool to award this contract and the misclassification of the nature of the work to be performed under the solicitation.
 
As USACE’s construction partner, AGC was compelled to share its grave concerns and objections on the use of reverse auctioning and the classification of the solicitation as a supply contract.
 
For more information, contact Marco Giamberardino at giamberardinom@agc.org or (703) 837-5325. [ return to top ]

  New FHA Administrator Has Positive History with AGC

Just prior to the summer recess, the Senate approved the nomination of Thomas J. Madison to be the next Federal Highway Administrator. Madison served as the highway commissioner in New York in 2005 through 2007 in Governor Pataki’s Administration. During that time he had a close working relationship with AGC’s New York State Chapter. Madison and the chapter cooperated in getting a major transportation bonding measure enacted during his tenure. Jim Wray has been serving as Acting Administrator since the departure of Rick Capka earlier this year.

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