Jobs Bill Update
The endgame for the Senate “jobs bill” is still uncertain.
AGC has learned that the Senate is considering breaking up a jobs package into
two or more separate bills. The first piece likely to be considered will
extend SAFETEA-LU through December 31, 2010 and provide a $20 billion infusion
for the Highway Trust Fund to maintain its solvency through that
extension. Other provisions being considered include extension of Build
America Bonds, new jobs tax credits, and various small business incentives.
The second piece of legislation will address other infrastructure
investment programs. AGC continues to communicate with the Senate the
urgent need to provide a significant investment in infrastructure in order to
meet the early spring construction season. The authors of the infrastructure
portion of the Jobs bill, Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.),
have signaled that additional funding for highways, transit, airport
improvements, high speed rail and school construction will be included in the
final package. However, the level at which those programs will be funded is
yet to be determined. AGC and other industry partners have strongly urged the
Senate to provide at least the level of funding that was provided in the House
passed “Jobs for Main Street Act” ($27.5 billion for highways, $8.4 for
In terms of funding for water infrastructure, AGC
is working with Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) in
circulating a letter to Senate leadership that seeks inclusion of $3 billion
for Clean Water State Revolving Funds and $3 billion for Drinking Water State
Revolving Funds in the infrastructure piece of the jobs package.
For more information, contact Sean O’Neill
at (202) 547-8892 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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President Obama Delivers First State of the Union, Infrastructure Among Top Priorities
In his first State of the Union address, President Obama
used the opportunity to define jobs and the economy as his top priority, in an
attempt to overcome his stalled domestic policy agenda and rising unemployment.
Obama highlighted the success of the infrastructure programs in last
year’s stimulus bill, and called for additional infrastructure investment by
Congress. In doing so, he praised the U.S. House for passing a jobs bill last
year and called on the Senate to do the same. In addition to a jobs bill, he
called for new small business tax credits, elimination of the capital gains tax
for small businesses, and more investment in the nation’s schools and community
colleges, which if passed, could likely turn into school construction funds. In
most cases his policy ideas were left with few supporting details. Further details on initiatives will be
forthcoming in the president’s budget next Monday.
The president called on Congress to remain committed to his
domestic policy agenda. He recognized that Congress is bogged down by health
care, but still asked that they deliver him a bill. In addition, he asked Congress
to pass comprehensive climate change and energy legislation featuring a cap and
trade system. Finally, immigration rounded out the priorities list, with the
president calling for a program that secures our borders, enforces our laws,
and ensures that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy.
AGC supports the call for additional investment in
infrastructure and targeted tax credits. However, AGC is concerned about the
president’s call for a three-year discretionary spending freeze and its impact
on federal construction spending accounts. The president’s position on energy
policy and health care also contrast with AGC’s.
Visit AGC’s legislative activity
page for AGC’s views on these and other Obama Administration legislative
priorities. For more information,
contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or email@example.com.
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AGC-Led Coalition Calls for Water Infrastructure Investment
Infrastructure Network (WIN) Coalition has repeatedly met with key Senate
Democrats and staff to urge additional investments EPA’s Clean and Safe
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs. A recent study by the
Environmental Council of States (ECOS), along with the Council of Infrastructure
Financing Authorities (CIFA) and the Association of State and Interstate
Water Pollution Control Administrators (ASIWPCA), has indicated that there
are over $56 billion in projects that would be eligible for additional funding that
did not receive Recovery Act or FY10 Appropriations funding in 2010.
In support of efforts by
Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) to include
significant funding for water infrastructure, the WIN Coalition sent a
letter to the U.S. Senate asking that $6 billion be included for the SRF’s in
job creation legislation. Despite of initial delays due to new regulatory
requirements in the Recovery Act, such as broad “Buy American” mandates, the
most recent EPA Recovery Act SRF reports that most states are on target to meet
the February 17, 2010 deadline.
76.7% all contracts
executed of those 71.3% construction started
82.5% all contracts
executed of those 65.1% construction started
AGC and the WIN Coalition
are continuing to advocate for water infrastructure investment, including the
establishment of a Water Trust Fund and reauthorization of the EPA SRF
Click here to view the WIN
Click here to view the
To learn more about water
infrastructure needs and legislation, visit www.agc.org/water. For more
information, contact Perry L. Fowler at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (202) 837-5321.
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President’s FY ’11 Budget To Be Released Next Week
The White House
announced last week that President Obama will release his FY 2011 budget on
Monday, February 1. Coming on the heels of the State of Union speech, the
president’s goals for this budget cycle will likely be funding job creation
programs and pushing for deficit reduction.
In the State of the
Union, the president announced that the FY2011 budget would contain a
discretionary spending freeze at some federal agencies, excluding defense
spending. The impact of the FY 2011
budget remains to be seen. It is unknown
at this time how the proposed spending freeze will affect the federal
construction accounts, fund a new jobs bill and reduce the deficit at the same
AGC will continue to
work with relevant federal agencies and Congress to ensure adequate funding is
provided for these programs and a jobs bill package that includes investment in
infrastructure is passed.
For more information, contact Marco
Giamberardino at (703) 837-5325 or email@example.com.
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Health Care Reform Outlook Remains Uncertain
Following the president's State of the Union Address and
his calls for a jobs bill, House and Senate Democratic leaders must find a way
to wrap up consideration of the health care bill. The path forward on health
care appears to be even further complicated by the recent election in
The options available to finishing work on health care
include: 1) House accepts the Senate bill and makes technical changes through
the reconciliation process (posing a significant political risk); 2) A smaller
bill with limited reforms, causing significant financing problems; 3) Congress
moves onto a jobs bill, and returns to health care later in the year, a process
that could push reform to a future Congress; and 4) Continue on current path and
find one or two Republican Senators who support the bill.
Other options remain, and Senate leaders continue to find
compromises. AGC continues to communicate with Congress on the impact the
legislation will have on the construction industry. The amendment to the Senate
bill that specifically targets the construction industry remains in the current
proposal. Initially, Congress recognized the complexity and costs associated
with the employer mandates in the bill, and exempted all businesses that employ
less than 50 employees from the mandate. However, the Senate version of health
care reform singles out contractors by requiring them to comply with the
employer mandate once they have five employees and their payroll reaches
For more information, contact Jim Young at
(202) 547-2133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senators Work to Stop EPA Climate Change Actions
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R- Alaska) on January 21
introduced a bipartisan disapproval resolution to block the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under
the Clean Air Act. Cosponsored by 35 Republicans
and three Democrats, the resolution would nullify EPA’s December 2009 finding
that GHG emissions endanger public health and welfare and thus are subject to
federal regulation under the Clean Air Act.
The resolution was introduced under the Congressional
Review Act, which offers expedited procedures to ensure an up-or-down vote on
the Senate floor, with a simple majority of 51 senators needed for
approval. Even if the Senate approves
the resolution, it must overcome political and procedural hurdles in the House,
and requires President Obama’s signature to overturn EPA’s endangerment finding
and stop further regulation. Regardless
of whether the resolution passes both chambers of Congress with a veto-proof
majority, approval of the resolution would be a set-back to climate change
efforts by the administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress.
AGC does not support climate change policies that would
adversely impact the commercial construction industry while bringing little
environmental benefit, and supports the Murkowski amendment. For more information on EPA’s endangerment
finding and AGC’s response, click
For more information, contact Karen Lapsevic
at (202) 547-4733 or email@example.com.
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