Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org July 8, 2010
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On the Inside
INFRASTRUCTURE
AGC Provides Members with Grassroots Toolkit on Highway Reauthorization
Capitol Hill Newspaper Reports AGC Action on Infrastructure
CONGRESS
Busy Weeks Ahead for Congress
PAC
AGC's Legislative Network Grows
INFRASTRUCTURE
AGC Provides Members with Grassroots Toolkit on Highway Reauthorization
 

Last week, AGC began a 14-week effort to mobilize members to communicate with Congress on the need for a multi-year highway and transit reauthorization bill. The previous transportation bill expired on September 30, 2009 and the program has been operating under short term extensions ever since. In addition, the Highway Trust Fund is depleted and infusions of general fund revenue have been needed for it to meet its obligations.


The toolkit and grassroots effort is part of a nationwide combined campaign with the Transportation Construction Coalition and the Americans for Transportation Mobility to make a final push for Congress to pass a long-term, well-funded surface transportation bill before the Congressional session ends. The upcoming district work period in August is an excellent time for AGC members to discuss with members of Congress the effect the lack of a multi-year bill is having on your state’s highway construction program. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents to a recent AGC survey reported fewer contract opportunities, causing contractors to purchase less equipment and hire fewer workers.

The materials in the toolkit can be found here, and includes the following:

Please let us know the results of any meetings or outreach you have made recently by email legislative@agc.org. Return to Top

Capitol Hill Newspaper Reports AGC Action on Infrastructure
 

As reported in The Hill, AGC has repeatedly urged Congress and the Administration to act on a range of infrastructure bills, given that the stimulus is running out but private sector demand has yet to pick up. 

Several key pieces of infrastructure legislation remain is Congressional limbo, including authorizations for the surface transportation program, airport construction, and the drinking water and wastewater SRFs. All are in various states of completion, but given the relatively few remaining legislative days, action now is critical to the long-term health of the construction industry and the economy.

Read more in the article from The Hill

For more information, contact Jeff Shoaf at shoafj@agc.org. Return to Top

CONGRESS
Busy Weeks Ahead for Congress
 

The last three weeks in July could be the busiest of the 111th Congress. Many issues are left outstanding, particularly in the Senate, and several others are crowding the legislative calendar.

Dominating the news cycles has been the Senate’s failure to extend federal unemployment insurance. It is likely that the Senate will again take up this vote when members return from the week-long July 4th recess on July 12. The outcome, however, is very unclear. The extension failed to pass late last month because of the $33.3 billion price tag. Budget concerns also stopped the annual tax extenders package, which contained provisions supported by AGC, from moving forward.  

Also waiting on Senators' desks will be the confirmation vote for President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan. While her confirmation is expected, the debate and vote will use precious floor time. In addition, the Senate must also take up the final post-conference version of the Financial Regulatory reform legislation that passed the House late last month, and may resume consideration of a small business jobs bill.

Also passed by the House last month and waiting for potential Senate pickup is the AGC-opposed DISCLOSE Act, which stifles the right of trade associations and corporations to speak out on behalf of the political candidates they support. Read more about that bill here. Democrats particularly are looking to get this bill passed to help their prospects in the midterm elections this November, where they are forecasted to receive substantial losses in both chambers.

Other outstanding issues include authorizations for the Surface Transportation Program and the water and wastewater state revolving loan fund (SRF) programs. The SRF program has been stalled in the Senate over disagreement about the bill’s application of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements. While the transportation program has been granted a short-term extension until the end of the year, the Senate has yet to unveil its version of a longer-term bill, which would then have to go through markup and approval by multiple committees before seeing floor time. The future of the majority of federal-aid work that AGC members perform is locked up in these two bills.

Also left outstanding in the House and Senate is the next Department of Defense Authorization bill, which has several important possible changes to federal contracting as well as billions in military construction work.  A permanent fix to the estate tax seemed to have momentum behind it earlier in the year, particularly because the rate fell from 45 percent in 2009 to zero percent for this year and is scheduled to jump up to 55 percent next year, but the outlook is murky at best. Other big issues include administration priorities like climate change and immigration reform, and, potentially, contracting reform. Also looming is possible legislation dealing with the BP oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon site, as well as Congressional repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

For more information, contact Scott Berry at (703) 547-5368 or berrys@agc.org. Return to Top
PAC
AGC's Legislative Network Grows
 


In the upcoming weeks, Government Affairs will send PAC regional coordinators, state chairmen, Chapter executives and government affairs representatives a PAC and grassroots toolkit. 

The kit will contain all the tools to encourage AGC members to get involved in the PAC and grassroots movements, including letters, talking points for members attending AGC meetings, contribution histories, and Congressional vote scores, among other things.

 

 

The toolkit is designed to help AGC’s legislative network grow. For more information, contact Blair Hood at (202) 547-5013 or hoodb@agc.org. Return to Top

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