Contruction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.orgMarch 6, 2009
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On the Inside
STIMULUS
AGC Outlines the Meaning of Stimulus for Contractors During 90th Annual Convention in San Diego
CARD CHECK
“So-Called” Employee Free Choice Act May Be Introduced Next Week; AGC Encourages Members to Speak Out Against the Legislation
FEDERAL
President Obama Makes Good on Promise to Reform Federal Contracting
TAX
AGC Submits Comments to IRS on Proposed Regulations for 3 Percent Withholding
INFRASTRUCTURE
$88.7 Billion in Infrastructure Investment Approved by House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
 
STIMULUS
AGC Outlines the Meaning of Stimulus for Contractors During 90th Annual Convention in San Diego
 

During AGC’s 90th Annual Convention in San Diego, March 4-7, chief economist Ken Simonson and CEO Stephen Sandherr outlined details on the recently-enacted stimulus legislation.  Simonson and Sandherr explained how the stimulus will improve employment and business prospects for the industry and help local communities rebuild gaining infrastructure.

The San Diego Union-Tribune attended the event, as did several other media outlets.  AGC regularly updates it’s stimulus Web site, www.agc.org/stimulus with details on stimulus funding.

For more information, contact Brian Turmail at (703) 837-5310 or turmailb@agc.org. Return to Top

CARD CHECK
“So-Called” Employee Free Choice Act May Be Introduced Next Week; AGC Encourages Members to Speak Out Against the Legislation
 

It is widely expected that supporters of the “so-called” Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) will seek to introduce this legislation next week.  This bill would deprive millions of employees the right to a private vote when deciding whether or not to unionize.  It would hurt construction workers and make it very difficult for small construction companies to grow, hire or succeed.  This legislation would also lead to federally mandated employment terms for construction firms.

Though most of the focus of this bill has been the impact on open shop employers and their employees, EFCA is also likely to have a negative effect on union contractors and their 8(f) “pre-hire agreements.”   Please go to www.agc.org/efca to learn more about the impact of EFCA on union contractors.


AGC strongly opposes this legislation.  AGC members have sent over 4,000 letters to legislators over the last few weeks to speak out against EFCA Please continue to use AGC’s Legislative Action Center to write and let your Members of Congress know your opposition to EFCA.  The Senators in Colorado, Louisiana, Arkansas, Virginia, Nebraska and North Carolina are considered key in stopping EFCA from moving forward, but all Members of Congress need to hear from you.  

It is important to stress to your Senators that it is not enough just to oppose the bill, but to oppose any procedural votes on EFCA.

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

FEDERAL
President Obama Makes Good on Promise to Reform Federal Contracting
 

On March 4, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum designed to reform government contracting, strengthen oversight and manage taxpayer dollars. The proposal would end no-bid and cost-plus contracts, maximize the use of competitive procurement processes and clarify the rules prescribing when outsourcing is and is not appropriate. The reform is projected to save taxpayers up to $40 billion a year.

The memorandum tasks the Federal Acquisition Reform (FAR) Council to develop and issue by July 1, 2009, government-wide guidance to assist agencies in reviewing contracts, and create processes for ongoing review of existing contracts in order to identify those that are “wasteful, inefficient, or not otherwise likely to meet the agency's needs.” The guidance will also formulate appropriate corrective action in a timely manner. The memorandum also mentions taking corrective action, such as modifying or canceling contracts that are deemed to meet that criteria.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is also directed to develop and issue by September 30, 2009, government-wide guidance to:
(1) govern the appropriate use and oversight of sole-source and other types of noncompetitive contracts and to maximize the use of full and open competition and other competitive procurement processes;
(2) govern the appropriate use and oversight of all contract types, in full consideration of the agency's needs, and to minimize risk and maximize the value of government contracts generally, consistent with the regulations to be promulgated pursuant to section 864 of Public Law 110-417;
(3) assist agencies in assessing the capacity and ability of the Federal acquisition workforce to develop, manage, and oversee acquisitions appropriately; and
(4) clarify when governmental outsourcing for services is and is not appropriate, consistent with section 321 of Public Law 110-417 (31 U.S.C. 501 note).

Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), John McCain (R-AZ) and Representatives Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Peter Welch (I-VT) pledged to work with the President on this effort. In addition, the President endorsed the goals of the bipartisan effort on defense procurement reform led by Senators Levin and McCain, and has asked Defense Secretary Gates to work with the Senators on these efforts.

AGC looks forward to working with OMB, the FAR council and Congress throughout the rulemaking and legislative process.

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

TAX
AGC Submits Comments to IRS on Proposed Regulations for 3 Percent Withholding
 

AGC submitted comments yesterday to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in response to the agency’s December 5, 2008 notice of proposed rulemaking to implement the 3 percent withholding law enacted in 2006.  Effective January 1, 2012, 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.  AGC has strongly opposed this legislation since it was introduced.

IRS’ proposed rule clarifies that payments for the construction of a building or other public works projects are subject to 3 percent withholding, which could adversely affect a contractor’s cash flow.  To view a copy of AGC’s letter, and for additional information on the proposed rule and AGC’s position, please click here.

Congress recently enacted a one-year delay in the effective date of the law (i.e., from 2011 to 2012) as part of H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  AGC has 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.

On January 7, Representative Kendrick Meek (D-FL) 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, please contact Karen Lapsevic at (202) 547-4733 or lapsevick@agc.org.
Return to Top

INFRASTRUCTURE
$88.7 Billion in Infrastructure Investment Approved by House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
 

The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure yesterday approved $88.7 billion in new investment to t he nation’s aviation and clean water infrastructure. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009 will provide $70 billion to the Federal Aviation Administration and federal aviation infrastructure programs for the next four years.  The Water Quality Investment Act of 2009 will give $18.7 billion for water and environmental infrastructure. 

The FAA bill provides $16.2 billion for the Airport Improvement Program, $13.4 billion for FAA Facilities & Equipment, and $1 billion for Research, Engineering, and Development. The funding will enable the FAA to modernize its air traffic control system and improve capacity at the nation’s airports.  In addition, the bill provides $39.3 billion for FAA operations.  

The Water Quality Investment Act authorizes $13.8 billion in Federal grants over five years to capitalize the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and provide low-interest loans to communities for wastewater infrastructure.  It also reauthorizes $250 million in grants over five years for alternative water source projects and authorizes $1.8 billion over five years in grants to municipalities and states to control sewer overflows.  It amends the Clean Water Act to provide a national standard for public notification of overflows, and increases the authorization of appropriations to $150 million for each of the fiscal years 2010 through 2014. Finally, the bill increases the authorized funding levels for the cleanup of contaminated sediment in the Great Lakes, which was enacted into law in 2008 with funding levels below the House-passed version of the bill.

 The Committee also approved the Views and Estimates for Fiscal Year 2010, which helps guide the development of the year’s budget resolution.  It lays out the Committee’s position on the budget proposed last week by the Obama Administration and calls for authorization of surface transportation programs, reauthorization of the FAA, selected provisions of the Clean Water Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, reauthorization of the Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and consideration of a water resources development act.

The Committee also noted that recent projections by the Congressional Budget Office show that the current levels of highway, transit and highway safety investment are unsustainable under current revenue projections.  AGC is actively working to ensure the Highway Trust Fund remains solvent.

Click here to view a comparison chart of state-by-state estimates for FY 2009 highway formula funding and FY 2010 estimated highway formula funding.

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

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