Contruction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.orgFebruary 12, 2009
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On the Inside
STIMULUS
Congress Wraps Up Stimulus Package
TAX & FISCAL AFFAIRS
Comment Deadline Approaching for Proposed 3 Percent Withholding Regulations
LABOR
President Obama Lifts Ban on AGC-Opposed Government-Mandated Project Labor Agreements; AGC Working Against Usage
AGC Supports Legislation Calling for Federal Contracts to be Awarded Through Open Competition; Legislation Will Block Use of GMLAs
AGC Members Mount Effort to Discourage Cosponsors of "Card Check;" AGC Urges Members to Continue to Act
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Sign Up Today For AGC’s Federal Contractors Conference in Washington D.C.
 
STIMULUS
Congress Wraps Up Stimulus Package
 

While Congress has not yet voted on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, House and Senate negotiators have released details of the plan and expect a vote before the weekend.  All reports indicate significant infrastructure investment, as outlined in the AGC summary of infrastructure and public building investment provisions. 

Highlights include $4.6 billion for the Corps of Engineers; $1.2 billion for the VA hospital and medical facility construction and improvements; $3.1 billion for repair, restoration and improvement of public facilities; $4.2 billion for facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization; $2.33 billion for Department of Defense Facilities; $1 billion for the Bureau of Reclamation; $48 billion for transportation infrastructure; $14.5 billion for environmental clean-up and clean water programs; $39.5 billion to local school districts for modernization or other purposes; and $4.5 billion for increased energy efficiency in federal buildings.  AGC will alert all members as soon as more information is available.  In addition, www.agc.org/stimulus is updated regularly with stimulus news and AGC’s efforts related to the bill.

Thanks to a strong grassroots effort nationwide, AGC of America, AGC’s nationwide network of Chapters and members can be proud that combined efforts resulted a bill that will bring work and jobs back to the construction industry.

AGC committed thousands of hours over the last several months to advocating for investment in infrastructure and public buildings.  AGC submitted written and oral testimony to six Congressional hearings and delivered four letters to Capitol Hill on behalf of member companies advocating for investment in infrastructure and public buildings.  In addition, activity on AGC’s legislative action center was unprecedented, ultimately sending 12,000 letters to Senators and Representatives in support of the stimulus plan while countless phone calls were made to Congressional offices.  AGC and its coalition partners stirred grassroots efforts with five new advertisements and significant media coverage, and AGC’s petition for investment now includes more than 3,000 supporters.

AGC Presents Podcast on Details of Recovery Plan, Requests Member Help
AGC created a 30-minute podcast February 2 to update members on the status of the stimulus plan then circulating on Capitol Hill and urged members to contact their Senators in support for infrastructure investment as part of the stimulus plan.  Visit www.agc.org/stimulus

AGC of America: Working for You
In January alone, members of AGC benefited from three free webinars and thousands of man and woman hours working in support of infrastructure investment in the pending stimulus plan.  Two webinars, For CEOs Only: Where Do I Turn for Answers in Tough Times? and Have We Hit Bottom?, were designed to help members cope with the economic downturn.   Last week’s webinar, Understanding the New FAR Requirements for Mandatory Disclosure and Stronger Compliance Programs, provided detailed analysis of the federal government’s new Mandatory Disclosure Rule for federal contractors.

 

View AGC's other stimulus-related activities here.

For more information, contact Jeff Shoaf at (202) 547-3350 or shoafj@agc.org. Return to Top

TAX & FISCAL AFFAIRS
Comment Deadline Approaching for Proposed 3 Percent Withholding Regulations
 

The deadline for comments in response to the December 5, 2008 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notice of proposed rulemaking to implement the 3 percent withholding provision is approaching on March 5.  With Congress unlikely to include a full repeal of the law in its economic stimulus package, but rather a one-year delay in its effective date (from 2011 to 2012), AGC is preparing comments to the IRS.  AGC has once again made full repeal of the onerous 3 percent withholding tax a top priority of the 111th Congress and will continue efforts to urge Congress to enact such legislation.

Effective January 1, 2011 (or January 1, 2012 under the proposed stimulus bill), federal, state, and local governments with annual expenditures of $100 million or more are required to withhold 3 percent from payments for goods and services, including payments made under government contracts with construction companies.  The law was intended to reduce the so-called “tax gap” and tax evasion.

IRS’ proposed rule clarifies that payments for the construction of a building or other public works projects are subject to 3 percent withholding.  For additional information on the proposed rule and AGC’s position, please click here.

On January 7, Representative Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) introduced H.R. 275, a bill to repeal the 3 percent withholding law.  On January 21, Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) introduced a Senate version, S. 292.  AGC is working with a broad coalition of stakeholders to enact the legislation. 

For more information contact Karen Lapsevic at (202) 547-4733 or lapsevick@agc.org. Return to Top

LABOR
President Obama Lifts Ban on AGC-Opposed Government-Mandated Project Labor Agreements; AGC Working Against Usage
 

On February 6, President Obama issued an executive order revoking an earlier order issued by President George W. Bush that largely prohibited federal agencies from imposing a project labor agreement on federal and federally assisted construction projects.  The new order encourages agencies to consider imposing a project labor agreement but falls short of requiring agencies to do so.

The order establishes that “it is the policy of the Federal Government to encourage executive agencies to consider requiring the use of project labor agreements in connection with large-scale construction projects.”  A “large-scale construction project” is defined as one with a total cost to the federal government of $25 million or more. 

The order provides that, in awarding a contract for a large-scale construction project or obligating funds pursuant to such a contract, “executive agencies may, on a project-by-project basis, require the use of a project labor agreement.”  The order expressly states that it “does not require an executive agency to use a project labor agreement on any construction project.”

The order also (a) directs the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) Council to amend the FAR as needed and (b) directs the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor and other officials, to provide the President with recommendations about “whether broader use of project labor agreements, with respect to both construction projects undertaken under Federal contracts and construction projects receiving Federal financial assistance, would help to promote the economical, efficient, and timely completion of such projects.”

AGC opposes government-mandated labor agreements (GMLAs) and is concerned about the impact of the order.  “[The] executive order has the unfortunate potential to limit contractors' ability to compete for projects at a time when the government is reporting that over one million construction workers have lost their jobs,” said AGC CEO Stephen Sandherr.  “Given that federal agencies have no demonstrated expertise in writing contracts that cover contractors and their employees, we strongly encourage officials to exercise the discretion this order provides and avoid government-mandated labor agreements.”

AGC will closely monitor developments, such as the FAR rulemaking process, and report to members as they occur. 

Click here to view President Obama’s executive order.  Click here to learn more about AGC’s position on government-mandated labor agreements and related advocacy activities.

For more information, contact Denise Gold at (703) 837-5326 or goldd@agc.org. Return to Top

AGC Supports Legislation Calling for Federal Contracts to be Awarded Through Open Competition; Legislation Will Block Use of GMLAs
 

This week, Congressman Sullivan (R-Okla.) introduced legislation (H.R. 983) that seeks to ensure that federal contracts are awarded through open competition.  The Government Neutrality in Contracting Act would prohibit the use of government mandated project labor agreements. 

This legislation mirrors the Senate bill, S.90, which was introduced by Senator Vitter (R-La.). 

AGC does not support government-mandated labor agreements (GMLAs) and believes they effectively compel both union and open shop contractors to alter their hiring practices, work rules, job assignments and benefits in order to compete or perform work on publicly funded projects.   This not only constitutes inappropriate government interference with private labor relations, but it amounts to an unfair government preference that can significantly impact the cost of public works.

AGC sent this letter to the House on Wednesday in support of Congressman Sullivan’s bill.  Please visit the AGC Legislative Action Center to send a letter in support of The Government Neutrality in Contracting Act.

For more information contact Kelly Knott at (202) 547-4685 or knottk@agc.org. Return to Top

AGC Members Mount Effort to Discourage Cosponsors of "Card Check;" AGC Urges Members to Continue to Act
 

Supporters of the (so-called) Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) are making a push to introduce this legislation in the House very soon and are continuing to push for original co-sponsors of the bill.  AGC opposes the Employee Free Choice Act and urges AGC members to discourage cosponsorship.

EFCA would take away a worker’s right to a federally supervised private ballot election when deciding whether or not to select union representation. It also imposes unrealistically short deadlines for labor-management negotiations over a first contract before mandating third-party mediation and binding arbitration.  

AGC supports the status quo, which allows both card-check recognition and secret-ballot elections to establish union representation and remains the most fair and reliable way to determine the desire of employees to be represented by a union.

Please reach out to your Members of Congress to urge them not to co-sponsor or support the bill. Just last week over 4,000 AGC members made their voice heard on this issue by using AGC's Legislative Action Center.  Contact your congressional delegation today and urge them not to co-sponsor or support the (so-called) Employee Free Choice Act.

For more information please contact Kelly Knott at (202) 547-4685 or knottk@agc.org. Return to Top

FEDERAL CONTRACTING
Sign Up Today For AGC’s Federal Contractors Conference in Washington D.C.
 

Registration for AGC’s Federal Contractors Conference can now be accessed through the new meeting Web site.

The Federal Contractors Conference is the only national event where AGC contractors and Federal agency personnel can meet and review procurement and contracting issues from around the United States. This year will include meetings with USACE, NAVFAC, USAF, GSA, OBO and the AGC Federal Owners Advisory Council, as well as a day of visits to Capitol Hill to discuss increased infrastructure investment and ensure fair federal contracting opportunities, among other issues.

Sponsorships are still available and serve as a great way to increase your company’s brand awareness, create positive public relations and gain recognition as a key player in federal contracting and procurement.

For more information contact Marco Giamberardino at (703) 837-5325 or giamberm@agc.org. Return to Top

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