Senate Health Care Bill Prepares to Move Forward
With amendment debate completed and an official
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score in hand, the Senate Finance Committee
is poised to vote on and pass their modified bill out of committee on Tuesday
The bill will then head to the Senate floor once it
is merged with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee bill
by Majority Leader Reid’s staff. Senate Democrats plan to have the health
package on the Senate floor by the week after next.
the more than week long mark-up, CBO determined the Finance bill would cost
$829 billion over 10 years, $55 billion more than Chairman Baucus’ original
mark. CBO predicted the Finance Committee bill will reduce the federal deficit
by $81 billion and provide up to 94 percent of all Americans with health care
debate several contentious issues were not resolved. In the end, the public option was not added, employer mandates remain,
and Cadillac plans will still being taxed.
In the House,
the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Charlie Rangel expects to
get his bill completed this week and sent to CBO to be scored. Democratic
leaders in the House are looking at options to help pay for healthcare reform,
including instituting a windfall profits tax on insurance companies.
Timing of a bill moving in the House remains fluid as Democratic leaders try to
address the concerns of their liberal and conservative members.
AGC remains concerned over employer mandates, the
penalties for companies that cannot afford to provide health care, the
uncertainties in coverage requirements, the affect on temporary and seasonal
employees, the limitations on FSAs, HSAs and HRAs, and expanded COBRA mandates.
Even with the CBO score of the Senate Finance bill, AGC remains concerned that
the exorbitant costs of the proposed plans will result in increased taxes on
individuals and companies. AGC supports reform that increases coverage,
choice and competition in the marketplace. The inclusion of a public plan in
the legislation will likely drive private insurers out of the market and the
projected savings from the proposed legislation may never materialize, resulting
in further tax increases to make up the shortfall.
For more information, contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or email@example.com.
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AGC Chapter Leaders Meet in Washington, Visit Capitol Hill
AGC Chapter leaders, including
executives and presidents, met in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss best
practices and meet with Congress to address AGC's top legislative issues.
The annual National and Chapter
Leadership Conference included speakers from Capitol Hill and breakout sessions
to discuss the industry's most pressing issues, including federal contracting
requirements and new labor, employment and safety initiatives.
Approximately 160 Congressional
offices were visited by AGC leaders. The top issue discussed during
these meetings was AGC’s newly-released blueprint on how to stimulate demand
for construction. The document, “Build Now for the Future: A Blueprint
for Economic Growth,” outlines a series of commonsense incentives, tax credits
and policy changes designed to stimulate new private and public-sector demand
for construction. Click here to view this
Several prominent speakers
participated in the meeting, including George Will, award-winning political
columnist, who told attendees that the United States has always believed in
infrastructure investment and criticized
Congress for failing to pass a robust six-year surface transportation bill,
saying it “shouldn’t be difficult.”
In addition, Congressman Earl
Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) were on hand to discuss
some of AGC's top legislative issues with AGC Chapter leaders.
Blumenauer called for greater
transportation investments and will work to attract over $1 trillion in new
investments in water infrastructure. Burr focused on health care and explained
that getting reform right is crucial to the business community.
For more information, contact Elisa
Brewer Pratt at (703) 837-5343 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senate Looks to Solve Highway Rescission Problem
Since Congress failed to act prior
to the September 30, 2009 deadline, a rescission of $8.7 billion in highway
program budget authority required in SAFETEA-LU was implemented. As a result of
the rescission, 30 states will lose about $335 million in actual highway
funding dollars in FY 2010 and all states will have limits on their ability to
use federal highway dollars to fund state priority projects.
Since the highway and transit
programs are currently operating on a thirty-day authorization extension,
Congress must pass further extensions to keep the programs operating. Key
Senate transportation leaders are looking for budget offsets to allow the
reversal of the rescission so that all states will have their lost budget
authority restored. They also are looking to the next authorization
extension as the vehicle for solving this problem. AGC has met with key
decision-makers and written to the entire House and Senate urging that this
rescission be reversed to avoid further deterioration of the highway
For more information, contact Brian
Deery at (703) 837-5319 or email@example.com.
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E-Verify Program Expected To Be Extended
This week, House and Senate
conferees working on the appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland
Security agreed to an extension of the E-Verify electronic verification system
for three years.
Conferees negotiated a simple
three-year extension after considering differences on both sides. For
example, the Senate version of the bill would have made the program permanent
and allowed for employers to verify existing employees.
The extension would keep the program
voluntary and authorize the continuation of the program in its current
form. However, the bill still needs to see final action on the floor
of both the House and the Senate. AGC expects the legislation to
reach the floor before the end of October, and will monitor the issue closely. For more information, contact Kelly Knott at
(202) 547-4685 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts: The Ins and Outs of Federal Prevailing Wage Law Webinar
December 3, 8 & 10, 2:00pm – 3:30pm ET
With the downturn in the availability of commercial work,
many construction contractors are bidding on federal and federally-assisted
work, and facing the mandates of federal prevailing wage laws, for the first
time. The application of the Davis-Bacon Act to all projects funded under the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is also responsible for leaving
many contractors uncertain about the requirements of federal prevailing wage
laws and the consequences of non-compliance. Perhaps you are a new staff person
responsible for federal contract compliance or you’ve been in your role for a
while and need a refresher course. This three-part webinar series will provide
you with the information you need to understand the specific requirements of
the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts in a contractor-friendly manner.
December 3: Introduction to the Davis Bacon Act and Wage Determinations
December 8: Compliance Principles
December 10: Reporting Requirements & Enforcement
Register at www.agc.org/DBWebinar.
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