Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org August 5, 2010
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On the Inside
CONGRESS
Senate Finishes Work Before Full August Recess
TRANSPORTATION
AGC Launches New Push for Transportation Reauthorization
ELECTIONS
Primary Spotlight on Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee
FEDERAL
NIH to Shut Down its Contractor Reporting System
CONGRESS
Senate Finishes Work Before Full August Recess
 

Today the Senate finished work on a $26 billion package that contains state aid, extension of Medicaid funding and funds to avert teacher layoffs, and confirmed Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.  The passage of the state aid package will require the House to return to the Capitol next week to pass the Senate version before they can resume their August recess. The administration has no plan at the moment to push for additional construction stimulus.

While Congress was able to finish work on these issues, many of the issues specific to AGC and the construction industry must wait until September or later.  SAFETEA-LU authorization expired on September 30, 2009, and the highway program is operating under short term extensions, the latest of which expires at the end of the year.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced this week he may attempt to pass an energy bill as early as September. The Senate bill includes oil-spill and other energy provisions, but could be expanded to include provisions on promoting renewable energy sources and possibly caps on greenhouse gases, although it is unlikely.

Congress also failed to move legislation meant to help small businesses. The bill was bogged down by how big the tax provisions should have been, but is expected to see action in the Senate when Congress returns in September. The bill is expected to include funds for community banks to make loans to small businesses and tax cuts, including quicker write-offs for depreciation.

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

TRANSPORTATION
AGC Launches New Push for Transportation Reauthorization
 

AGC and coalition partners in the Transportation Construction Coalition and Americans for Transportation Mobility began a new campaign to urge Congress to act on highway and transportation reauthorization. On September 30, 2009 SAFETEA-LU, the current surface transportation authorization legislation, expired. This provides Congress and the administration the opportunity to chart a new course for the nation by providing a surface transportation system that will propel the U.S. forward.

AGC is urging its members and Chapters to make contact with legislators over the August recess, and use the tools provided on the transportation reauthorization web page.  Tools include template letters to your Senators or Representative, talking points and meeting request letters. Additional resources include sample letters to the editor and op/eds, as well as template advertisements and a brief video (above), to explain to the general public the importance of investing in transportation infrastructure.

In collaboration with local Chapters, AGC will hold media events in selected cities to draw more attention to this important issue.

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

ELECTIONS
Primary Spotlight on Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee
 

Primary races started to pick up again this week after a slow July.  Kansas, Michigan and Missouri kicked off August primary races on Tuesday, and in Kansas a hotly contested Senate race (Brownback open seat) ended with Rep. Jerry Moran (R) winning the Republican nomination over Rep. Todd Tihart (R) with 50 percent of the vote.  With Moran and Tihart vying for the Republican nomination in the Senate, and Rep. Dennis Moore (D) announcing his retirement, nearly all the state’s congressional seats were up for grabs.  In the first district, State Sen. Tim Huelskamp cleared a crowded primary field to win the Republican nomination to succeed Moran, and Moore’s wife, Stephene, won the Democratic nomination and will face State Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) in November.  Finishing off the Kansas primary results, businessman Mike Pompeo (R) will face State Rep. Raj Goyle (D) in this Republican-leaning district.

The state of Michigan has presented many opportunities for new faces in Congress after three Representatives announced their retirements and one Democratic incumbent lost her primary. In early April Rep. Bart Stupak (D) announced his retirement, leaving the seat open this November.  State Rep. Gary McDowell (D) will face either Dr. Dan Benishek (R) or State Sen. Jason Allen, who are just .1% point apart.  Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R) left the second district in Michigan.   Fred Johnson will face former State Rep. Bill Huizenga (R) in November.  Rep. Vern Ehlers (R) announced his retirement as Representative for the third district in early 2010 and will be succeeded by either State Rep. Justin Amash (R) or attorney Pat Miles, who is running as the Democrat on the ticket.  Incumbent Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kirkpatrick lost her party’s bid for nomination and was defeated by State Sen. Hansen Clarke, who will face John Hauler (R) in November. Cheeks Kilpatrick became the fourth House incumbent to lose a party primary this cycle.

Early in 2010, Sen. Kit Bond (R) of Missouri announced his retirement after serving four terms in the Senate, leaving one of the bellwether state’s Senate seats open.  Rep. Roy Blunt, who currently serves as the Congressman for the seventh district of Missouri, came out on top of an eleven person primary.  Blunt received 71 percent of the vote and will face Missouri’s Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D).  Both Carnahan and Blunt have strong recognition in the state and this seat is considered to be a tossup.  Carnahan’s brother, Russ, currently serves as the Representative for Missouri’s third district, and may be facing a tough race of his own after AGC PAC-backed candidate Ed Martin won the Republican nod for the ticket in November. After Blunt announced his plan to run for Senate, the primary in the seventh district for both parties quickly turned into a crowded contest.  In the end, Attorney Scott Eckersley (D) and Auctioneer Billy Long (R) will challenge one another for the seat in November.

Tennessee is in the process of holding its primary today, and AGC will keep a close look on a few of the seats, including open seats TN-3 (Zach Wamp – R), TN-6 (Bart Gordon – D) and TN-8 (John Tanner – D.)

For more information, contact Blair Hood at (202) 547.5013 or hoodb@agc.org. Return to Top

FEDERAL
NIH to Shut Down its Contractor Reporting System
 

The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Contractor Performance System (CPS) has supported civilian agencies in submission of their contractor performance reports since December 1996. Despite continual updating of the CPS, the passage of time has put the system in need of an architectural overhaul. This need, in combination with recent government-wide efforts to consolidate systems has resulted in several civilian agencies transitioning to the more modern Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS) that is managed by the Department of Defense (DOD).

In light of these facts and discussions with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) and DOD CPARS, NIH reached a decision to not revamp the CPS and to officially end service to all customers on September 30, 2010. While users can continue to add new evaluations to CPS until July 9, 2010, all CPS past performance evaluations must be completed by September 30.

While the government is encouraging all subscribing agencies to transition to the Department of Defense’s CPARS and to work out a schedule with the DOD for completing the changeover, AGC is working with its federal agency partners to share information about the transition and how they might change their past performance best practices to meet the needs of CPARS.

For questions on technical assistance matters or transition issues specific to the CPS, please feel free to contact the NIH CPS Team at (301) 451-2771 or e-mail cps-support-l@list.nih.gov.

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

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