Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.orgMay 28, 2009
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On the Inside
STIMULUS
AGC Preparing Recovery Act Comments to Federal Acquisition Regulation Council
AGC Meets with Obama Administration on Government Mandated Labor Agreements
AGC Hosts Second Session in Federal Contracting/Recovery Act Webinar Series
EPA Issues Second Buy America Waiver for ARRA Projects
AGC Only Commercial Construction Industry Association Listed As Top Lobbyist
CLIMATE CHANGE
AGC Hosts Building Design and Construction Industry Meeting on Climate Change
HEALTH CARE
Health Care Reform Remains a Priority in Washington
WATER INFRASTRUCTURE
EPA Presents 2010 Budget to House Appropriations Committee
 
STIMULUS
AGC Preparing Recovery Act Comments to Federal Acquisition Regulation Council
AGC Members Urged to Comment on ARRA Requirements
 

On March 31, 2009, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Councils issued a series of interim rules amending the FAR in order to implement several key provisions set forth in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. On a finding of "urgent and compelling reasons," the interim rules were issued without any opportunity for prior public comment.  The FAR Councils will, however, take into consideration public comments submitted on or before June 1, 2009 in formulation of the final rule.

In order to facilitate a dialogue between AGC members and the government, AGC has set up a special portal located at the AGC Legislative Action Center and highlighted the key issues that must be addressed:

·         Recovery Act - Buy American Requirements for Construction Material
·         Recovery Act - Publicizing Contract Actions
·         Recovery Act - Reporting Requirements
·         Recovery Act - Whistleblower Protections
·         Recovery Act - GAO/IG Access

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) also issued its own guidance on April 23 establishing government-wide guidance and standard award terms for agencies to include in financial assistance awards (namely, grants, cooperative agreements and loans) as part of their implementation of the Recovery Act. Public comments are due by June 22:

·         Recovery Act - OMB Interim Guidance

AGC is preparing to submit comments on behalf of the entire association by the June 1 deadline.

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

AGC Meets with Obama Administration on Government Mandated Labor Agreements
 

AGC CEO Steve Sandherr met with officials from the Obama Administration’s Office of Management and Budget, Department of Labor, Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the Vice President’s staff last week to discuss AGC’s position on the Government Mandated Labor Agreements (GMLAs). 

Earlier in the year, the President issued an executive order encouraging agency heads to consider mandating labor agreements on construction projects costing more than $25 million.  During the lengthy meeting, Steve explained the impact of mandated labor agreements on both union and open shop employers.  For example, he noted that while AGC is neutral on project labor agreements when they are voluntarily adopted by a project’s owner, he noted that even union shop contractors have their existing labor arrangements undermined when the government imposes GMLAs. 

The meeting gave AGC an opportunity to explain to senior Administration officials the practical, and negative, effect of mandated labor agreements.  For example, the Administration now understands the problems of having contracting officers with little construction expertise negotiate GMLA’s, and they are now checking to see if previous mandated labor agreements have actually resulted in increased efficiencies and economies.  AGC will continue to press this issue with all federal agencies that perform construction work.  A copy of the fact sheet that was presented by AGC is available here.

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

AGC Hosts Second Session in Federal Contracting/Recovery Act Webinar Series
 

On May 28, AGC held its second session in its new Federal Contracting: Stimulus at Work webinar series, entitled, The Contract Award Process. The federal market has changed dramatically over the last six months and this program provided participants with the ins and outs of federal contracts and what makes them unique. The webinar also included information on the new Federal subcontract from ConsensusDOCS and the government process in awarding contracts.

Due to the changing landscape in federal contracting, it is more important than ever that contractors are aware of rule and regulation updates and the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on the federal contracting process.  This webinar series will continue to provide an overview of the existing process and walk attendees through the evolution of federal contracting.

Click here to learn more about the webinars below.

·        June 4 - How to Handle Claims and Disputes
·        June 11 - The Recovery Act

For additional information, please contact Marco Giamberardino at giamberm@agc.org. Return to Top

EPA Issues Second Buy America Waiver for ARRA Projects
 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a di minimus waiver from Buy America requirements contained in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  This is the second Buy America issued by EPA; the first national waiver applied to projects under contract before President Obama signed the ARRA.  This nationwide waiver can be applied to materials or components which constitute five percent or less of the total cost of materials incorporated into  a water infrastructure project funded by EPA’s Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan ( SRF) programs funded by the ARRA. 

AGC’s efforts were critical in educating the EPA about the complexity and components of typical water infrastructure projects, such as treatment plants or pipe replacement and rehabilitation projects. 

This waiver was deemed to be in the public interest  by the EPA in order to ensure ARRA-funded projects proceed within the timelines established in the legislation to provide jobs and infrastructure investments. AGC applauds EPA’s action to avoid project delays and unnecessary liability for AGC members.

To view a copy of the 6-page EPA document click here.

For additional information contact Perry L. Fowler at fowlerp@agc.org or (703) 837-5321. Return to Top

AGC Only Commercial Construction Industry Association Listed As Top Lobbyist
 

Capitol Hill's newspaper, The Hill, listed AGC as the only commercial construction industry association on its Top Lobbyists of 2009 list. 

AGC was cited for its work in "crafting" the economic stimulus package.  Read the entire list here.

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

CLIMATE CHANGE
AGC Hosts Building Design and Construction Industry Meeting on Climate Change
 

AGC Wednesday hosted a meeting with executives and representatives of several building design and construction industry stakeholders at the National Building Museum to discuss recent regulatory and legislative efforts to address greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. 

The group received a briefing from a representative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to update them on the regulatory efforts underway at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control greenhouse gas emissions from mobile and stationary sources under the Clean Air Act.  The U.S. Chamber and AGC share a concern that the Clean Air Act would lead to over-regulation of building construction and major renovation and ultimately halt construction. 

The group also received a briefing on the legislative outlook in Congress, including comments from a staff member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  The House Energy and Commerce Committee last week approved a bill that aims to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.  The Senate has yet to propose climate change legislation.  AGC will now work to identify areas of consensus among the building design and construction community to influence the debate on Capitol Hill as climate change legislation moves forward.   

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

HEALTH CARE
Health Care Reform Remains a Priority in Washington
 

The health care debate remains a priority of congressional leaders and the administration.  Today, President Obama predicted that if Congress is unable to pass comprehensive reform this year, it may never happen.  Despite the packed legislative calendar and tight window to consider legislation, Congress remains committed to debating the issue before the annual August recess. 

The Senate Finance Committee has released an outline of policy options to consider in reform legislation and is expected to release actual legislative language next week.  The major issue remains how to finance the plan.  When the legislative language is released, AGC will communicate the issues of importance to AGC members.

For additional information please contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or youngj@agc.org. Return to Top

WATER INFRASTRUCTURE
EPA Presents 2010 Budget to House Appropriations Committee
 

On May 19, 2009, U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies to defend EPA’s FY 2010 budget blueprint.   Unlike many other federal and federally-assisted construction accounts, the EPA’s FY 2010 budget includes significant increases for clean and drinking water infrastructure.

EPA has budgeted $3.9 billion to maintain and improve outdated water infrastructure including $2.4 billion for clean water and $1.5 billion for drinking water. The budget also includes $636,317 for categorical grants to states and tribes for water programs. 

Additional budget highlights include a $475 million multi-agency Great Lakes Initiative to protect and clean up the largest fresh water lakes in the world through restoration efforts, invasive species control, non-point source pollution mitigation and critical habitats protection. The budget also includes funding for crucial efforts to protect, maintain and restore the Chesapeake Bay and Anacostia River, Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay, Lake Champlain and other large water bodies.

To view the EPA FY 2010 budget click here.

For additional information, contact Perry Fowler at (703) 837-5321 or fowlerp@agc.org. Return to Top

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