November 13, 2008
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INFRASTRUCTURE
AGC Continues to Push for Infrastructure Funds in Economic Stimulus
Information Needed to Support Infrastructure in Economic Stimulus
Voters Approved Infrastructure Funding On November 4
ENVIRONMENTAL
EPA Rule Could Stop Future Construction – Action Needed
ETHICS
Final Rule Issued on “Contractor Business Ethics Compliance”
IMMIGRATION
Final Rule Issued Mandating Federal Contractor Use of “E-Verify”

  AGC Continues to Push for Infrastructure Funds in Economic Stimulus
Despite a great deal of talk about Congress taking up economic stimulus legislation in a lame duck session, it still remains uncertain whether or not this will happen. The Senate is scheduled to be in session next week. In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has expressed the desire to go back into session to address stimulus legislation but she has not yet officially called the House back into session.In a press conference this week, President-Elect Obama urged Congress to pass stimulus legislation as soon as possible. However, President Bush has expressed skepticism about the benefit from this legislation.

AGC continues to advocate for the inclusion of infrastructure funding as part of the economic stimulus package. Prior to adjournment the House passed a stimulus bill which included $34 billion in infrastructure funding, including: $12.8 billion for the federal-aid highway program; $3.6 billion for transit; $600 million for airport capital improvement projects; $7.5 billion for water infrastructure; $5 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; $3 billion for public school reconstruction; $500 million for Amtrak; and $1 billion for public housing construction. A Senate bill that included $25 billion in infrastructure spending was blocked from passage on a procedural motion.

The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Representative Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), met October 29 for a hearing on economic recovery, job creation, and investment in America. Two panels testified before the committee with representatives from state and local governments, think tanks, and industry. To view the testimony AGC submitted for the hearing click here.

Your Senators and Representatives need to hear from you this week. Please go to AGC’s Legislative Action Center and send a message to your elected officials.

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

  Information Needed to Support Infrastructure in Economic Stimulus
Congressional leaders are advocating for inclusion of infrastructure funding in the economic stimulus legislation and they have asked AGC for information about current conditions in the construction industry as well as the positive impact that would result from increased infrastructure funding. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey. This information will be very useful in our efforts on Capitol Hill.

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

  Voters Approved Infrastructure Funding On November 4
On Election Day, the American public voted overwhelmingly in support of investing in the future of the country. Voters in 25 states expressed strong support for infrastructure investment by approving about $122 billion in bonds and tax increases for public works projects. Most  ballot initiatives addressed transportation and school funding; however many states and localities approved initiatives for improving water infrastructure and other building infrastructure, including libraries, hospitals, and parks.

More than 80% of the bond referendums passed, signaling the American public’s support to incur debt for increased infrastructure investment despite the recent economic woes. To view a list of ballot initiatives specific to the construction industry click here.

For more information contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org. [ return to top ]

  EPA Rule Could Stop Future Construction – Action Needed
EPA is seeking public input on regulating greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and construction equipment. AGC and many other industry groups are mobilizing members and chapters to stop EPA. We can only do this by sending as many individual comments as possible in response to EPA’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Members can submit customized comments easily using a template comment letter on the AGC web site. Comments must be customized and received by November 28, 2008 to count. Click here to submit your customized comments today.

AGC’s primary concern is that using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions could halt building construction and jeopardize funding for highway and transportation projects. Once EPA controls a greenhouse gas under almost any section of the Act, most buildings in the U.S. that emit that “pollutant” would become subject to costly and time-consuming permitting and construction requirements under EPA’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration program. Another section of the Act would require EPA to develop standards for greenhouse gas emissions that states would need to incorporate into their implementation plans. Penalties for noncompliance include the loss of funding for future highway projects. AGC also is concerned with several proposed new requirements regarding fuel use and types, manufacturing of new equipment, and operating of equipment.

AGC previously reported that the EPA planned to issue an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) to “discuss and solicit public input” on how to use the Clean Air Act to control greenhouse gas emissions. To read the full AGC article, which provides a background on the EPA’s decision to issue an ANPR and some of the potential impacts click here

For more information contact Leah Pilconis at (703) 837-5332 at pilconisl@agc.org. [ return to top ]

  Final Rule Issued on “Contractor Business Ethics Compliance”
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council on November 12 issued a final rule on its "Contractor Business Ethics Compliance Program and Disclosure Requirements." The rulemaking becomes effective on December 12, 2008.

The rule amends the FAR to amplify the requirements for a contractor code of business ethics and conduct, an internal control system, and disclosure to the Government of certain violations of criminal law, violations of the civil False Claims Act, or significant overpayments. Specifically, the rule requires Federal contractors to:

• Establish and maintain specific internal controls to detect and prevent improper conduct in connection with the award or performance of any Government contract or subcontract; and,
• Timely disclose to the agency Office of the Inspector General, with a copy to the contracting officer, whenever, in connection with the award, performance, or closeout of a Government contract performed by the contractor or a subcontract awarded thereunder, the contractor has credible evidence of a violation of Federal criminal law involving fraud, conflict of interest, bribery, or gratuity violations found in Title 18 of the United States Code; or a violation of the civil False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. 3729 3733).
The rule also provides as cause for suspension or debarment, knowing failure by a principal, until 3 years after final payment on any Government contract awarded to the contractor, to timely disclose to the Government, in connection with the award, performance, or closeout of the contract or a subcontract thereunder, credible evidence of:
• Violation of Federal criminal law involving fraud, conflict of interest, bribery, or gratuity violations found in Title 18 of the United States Code;
• Violation of the civil False Claims Act; or
• Significant overpayment(s) on the contract, other than overpayments resulting from contract financing payments as defined in FAR 32.001, Definitions.

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

  Final Rule Issued Mandating Federal Contractor Use of “E-Verify”
AGC has learned that the final rulemaking requiring Federal contractors and subcontractors to use the E-Verify system administered by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as the means of verifying that certain of their employees are eligible to work in the United States will be published November 14, 2008. The rulemaking will take effect January 15, 2009. 

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council included several AGC-suggested provisions in the final rule, including: extending the time to permit Federal contractors to participate in the E-Verify program from 30 to 90 days; providING a longer period after this initial enrollment period – 30 calendar days instead of 3 business days – for contractors to initiate verification of existing employees who have not previously gone through the E-Verify system when they are newly assigned to a covered Federal contract; increases the threshold for prime contracts above the simplified acquisition threshold ($100,000) instead of the micro-purchase threshold ($3,000); and, provides contractors the option of verifying all employees of the contractor, including any existing employees not currently assigned to a Government contract.

An advance copy of the 274 page final rule is available here.

Further information on registration for and use of E-Verify can be obtained here.

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