Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org November 23, 2010
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On the Inside
TAKE ACTION
Urge Senators to Support 1099 Repeal
Deficit Commission Members Need to Hear From You
SAFETY
Republican Senators Express Concern Over OSHA Policy
CONGRESS
Outstanding Issues Await Lame Duck Session
SURVEY
AGC Requests Your Input in Establishing Legislative Priorities
TAKE ACTION
Urge Senators to Support 1099 Repeal
Vote on repeal could happen as early as Monday
 

On November 29, the Senate is expected to return to debate the food safety bill. There are two amendments likely to be voted on that will repeal the new 1099 reporting requirements.  The two amendments are:

  • The Johanns Amendment (S.Amdt 4702), which is a full repeal with an offset from unused stimulus funds
  • The Baucus Amendment (S.Amdt 4713), which is a full repeal with no offset.

Please urge your senators to support a full repeal of the new 1099 reporting requirement by using AGC’s Legislative Action Center.

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

Deficit Commission Members Need to Hear From You
 

While most of us will be enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday, the members of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will continue working to finalize their report before the December 1 deadline.  AGC held several high-level meetings last week with Commission members and their staff and learned that at this point in negotiations, the 15 cent per gallon gas tax increase that was recommended in the co-chairmen’s draft proposal has not been ruled out of being included in the commission’s final proposal.


Although the prospects for the final report garnering the support from 14 of the 18 commission members necessary to trigger Congressional action are unclear, it is important for the members to hear from stakeholders on the importance of a gas tax increase on both our transportation infrastructure and our country’s fiscal health.

Visit AGC’s Legislative Action Center to write a letter to the Commission in support of a gas tax increase.

For more information, contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or oneills@agc.org. Return to Top

SAFETY
Republican Senators Express Concern Over OSHA Policy
 

On November 15, 2010, Senator Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Ranking Member, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, sent a letter to the Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis expressing concerns over the direction of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In particular, they detailed concerns about recent changes to OSHA’s administrative penalty policy and several proposed rulemakings that they believe will negatively impact small business.  Their overarching concerns relate to the administration’s lack of outreach to the small business community and reduced reliance on small business review panels to fully understand the economic impact administrative changes might have on small firms.

Other issues addressed in the Senate letter are the proposed changes to the Onsite Consultation Program Agreement and eliminating funding for the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).  Many of the concerns highlighted in the Senate letter are identical to those raised by AGC on behalf of our members during the respective review and comment periods.  AGC will continue to monitor activities concerning workplace safety and Congressional oversight efforts over the Obama Administration in the 112th Congress.

For more information, contact Kevin Cannon at (703 )837-5410 or cannonk@agc.org. Return to Top

CONGRESS
Outstanding Issues Await Lame Duck Session
 

A long list of issues face Congress when they return to the nation’s capital next week, including a meeting between President Obama and the incoming GOP House Leadership. Several issues are certain to draw attention next week, including: expiring unemployment benefits (November 30); a report on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (due December 1); and a report by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility (December 1).

The commission’s early proposal includes an AGC-endorsed recommendation to increase the federal gas tax but it faces the steep hurdle of garnering the support from 14 of the commission’s 18 members.  See article above under Take Action.

Other issues include:

Taxes

In addition, Congress will have to decide how to resolve the extension of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, which are due to expire on December 31. Democratic leaders are facing pressure from Republicans to extend all of the tax cuts rather than the president’s proposal to extend the tax cuts only for families with annual incomes less than $250,000.

Another tax provision set for a vote is the 1099 reporting provision. This provision was included in the healthcare bill that passed earlier this year and requires government, nonprofits and businesses of all sizes to file Form 1099s with the IRS when goods or services in excess of $600/year are purchased without a credit card from another business. AGC opposes this provision as it raises money to pay for the healthcare law but does nothing to improve healthcare. A vote to remove the provision is scheduled for November 29 as part of food safety legislation. See article above under Take Action.

Infrastructure

Congress is also confronted with numerous infrastructure programs that expire or must be extended. The surface transportation program has been operating under short-term extensions since it expired in 2009 and the current extension expires on December 31. AGC has been advocating Congress to pass a multi-year reauthorization of the program and at the very least a long-term extension. Congress also failed to extend aviation funding and water infrastructure bills. Also expiring on December 31 is the highly successful Build America Bond program.

Budget

The continuing resolution passed by Congress in September to provide funds to operate the federal government expires December 3.  The continuing resolution was necessary because Congress failed to enact any of the 12 appropriations bills for FY 2011.

In the few remaining weeks of the 111th Congress the number of contentious issues is notable, however debate on many of them is likely to be scuttled. The wide range of issues includes:

  • AMT patch (expires December 31)
  • Capital gains/dividends tax rate (expires December 31)
  • Cuban trade and travel restrictions
  • Defense authorization
  • “Doc fix” extension for Medicare (expires November 30)
  • Energy provisions
  • Food safety
  • FY 2011 appropriations (expires December 3)
  • Labor reform and “card check” (likelihood of passage severely diminished with large GOP gains)
  • Russian Arms Treaty
  • Tax extenders (expires December 31)

For more information, contact Jim Young at youngj@agc.org. Return to Top

SURVEY
AGC Requests Your Input in Establishing Legislative Priorities
 

AGC is currently conducting a Legislative Priority Survey to solicit information from AGC members to better determine the most important legislative issues to the construction industry.

The results of the survey will be used by the AGC’s Legislative Action Committee to prioritize the direction of legislative involvement during the 112th Congress (2010-2011).

The survey takes just a few minutes to complete and can be accessed by clicking here.  The survey results are valuable because they outline the issues the construction industry views as the most important, as well as where AGC should direct the appropriate resources to address these legislative issues.

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

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