House Passes Stimulus Package; Senate Likely to Vote Next Week
The House on Wednesday by a vote of 244 to 188 passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, better known as the Stimulus Package. The Senate is expected to take up its version next week. The Senate version differs from the House version in funding totals for significant programs.
AGC members were at the forefront of this legislative struggle, sending nearly 10,000 letters, delivering a petition signed by over 3,000 supporters and making thousands of phone calls to Capitol Hill in support of the construction portion of this legislation. The package includes significant funding for all of the major construction markets, in most cases exceeding typical yearly appropriations. The funds generally have to be put to work in 180 days, with unobligated funds reprogrammed by their disbursing agencies. All funds in the bill are required to be spent within 2 years.
With the debate now in the Senate, we strongly urge you to reach out to your employees, your suppliers, your subcontractors and your local government and business community leaders to ask them to use the tools on the AGC Web site to contact your Senators. Visit www.agc.org/s1 for more information.
Highlights of the Stimulus Package
• Building Infrastructure Funding: Approximately $55 billion in Building Infrastructure, including: $6.7 billion for GSA buildings; $8.5 billion for Military Construction; and $1 billion for VA Construction – all distributed at the discretion of the particular federal agency of jurisdiction. This also includes $20 billion for K-12 School and Higher Ed Construction, distributed by Title I formulas for K-12 and by a new formula for Higher Ed.
• Highway and Transportation Infrastructure Funding: Over $46 billion for transportation infrastructure, including: $30 billion for bridge and highway funding, to be distributed by existing formulas, with a portion of the funds within each state being sub-allocated by population areas; $12 billion for transit funding, with new construction being distributed on a discretionary basis, and upgrades, repair, and other assistance being distributed according to existing formula; and $3 billion for Airport Improvement Grants, distributed on a discretionary basis.
• Water Infrastructure: More than $15 billion for Water Infrastructure, including: $4 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund; $2 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund; and $1.5 billion specifically set aside for Rural Water and Waste Disposal projects. Water Resources construction also includes $4.5 billion for the Corps of Engineers, and $500 million for the Bureau of Reclamation.
• Tax Provisions: Permanent repeal of 3 percent withholding tax on government contractors, extension of increased small business expensing, extension of the depreciation bonus, a 5-year carry-back of net operating losses, long term extension and modification of the renewable energy tax production credit, a tax credit bond option for state and local governments, and numerous bonding provisions for energy, school construction and economic development.
Other Provisions in the Bill
• Davis-Bacon Requirements: Any projects funded directly by or assisted in whole or in part by and through the Federal Government will have Davis-Bacon wage requirements. In addition, the bill calls for the application of Davis-Bacon to any projects funded by tax bonds.
• Buy American: The House bill mandates that iron and steel used in construction and repair projects funded under the bill be produced in the United States unless found to be prohibitively expensive (by increasing the cost of the total project by 25 percent).
• Federal Contracting Requirements: The Federal Acquisition Regulation shall apply to contracts awarded with funds in the Act. Contracts are encouraged to be awarded as fixed-price contracts through the use of competitive procedures. Any contract awarded with such funds that is not fixed-price and not awarded using competitive procedures shall be posted in a special section of the website Recovery.gov.
• E-Verify: The House bill mandates the use of the “E-Verify” electronic verification system for all businesses receiving funds derived from the stimulus, including both direct federal and federal-aid projects. Efforts are underway to get this provision removed from the final bill. The Senate may consider an amendment that would create a more expansive E-Verify requirement. This issue will likely be addressed in the House-Senate conference on the bill.
For more information visit the AGC website at www.agc.org/S1, or contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or email@example.com.
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