Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org April 21, 2011
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On the Inside
TAX
254 Days Until 3% Withholding Begins Action Needed
TRANSPORTATION
AGC Briefs House Staff on Transportation Reauthorization
BUDGET
Budget Debate Remains Hot Topic
FEDERAL
Obama Administration Considering Executive Order DISCLOSE-Like Rule for Federal Contractors
EVENTS
Federal Government Shutdown Averted: What Does New Budget Deal Mean for the Federal Market?
TCC Fly-In: Your Elected Officials Need to Hear from You
TAX
254 Days Until 3% Withholding Begins Action Needed
 

AGC continues to urge Congress to repeal the 3 percent withholding mandate on federal, state, and local government contracts. Starting January 1, 2012, public owners will begin withholding 3 percent of every payment to contractors for goods and services, including construction.

Stand-alone legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to repeal this mandate. Grassroots contact from AGC members is very important. To write your legislators and urge them to cosponsor the legislation, click here.

Currently H.R. 674 has 75 cosponsors in the House and two Senate bills, S. 89 and S.164, have 13 cosponsors. To see if your Senators and Representative are or have been a cosponsor of legislation to repeal the 3 percent withholding mandate, click here.

For more information, contact Karen Lapsevic at lapsevick@agc.org. Return to Top

TRANSPORTATION
AGC Briefs House Staff on Transportation Reauthorization
 

With Congress on a two-week break, AGC and other transportation stakeholders took the opportunity to brief congressional staff on the importance of passing a surface transportation reauthorization bill.  The briefing, which was sponsored by the AGC-led Transportation Construction Coalition and the Americans for Transportation Mobility, provided nearly 60 staff members the basics of why a multi-year bill is critical to the health of our construction industry and our economy as a whole.

AGC chief economist Ken Simonson provided the group with data showing economic indicators showing historically low costs for highway construction.  Simonson stressed that Congress should act now on a multi-year bill to take advantage of the current construction market conditions. In addition, AGC detailed to the group the impact of federal infrastructure investment on jobs and our economy. The group was also updated on the current state of the Highway Trust Fund and the need to provide additional revenue in order to meet our current surface transportation needs.

As AGC works with the House and Senate committees as they craft the next authorization bill, we will continue to educate all Members of Congress on the need to act expeditiously on a multi-year surface transportation bill. 

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

BUDGET
Budget Debate Remains Hot Topic
 

Even though fiscal year 2011 budget battles have wrapped up, several more will face Congress when they return from recess on May 2. Now that the House has passed their FY 2012 budget resolution, normal procedure would be for the Senate to follow with their budget resolution. Following Senate passage, the differences in each chamber’s budget would be resolved in conference.  Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) , who is one of the “Gang of Six” Senators working on a bipartisan budget deficit plan, has indicated he will not offer his FY 2012 budget resolution until he sees if the “Gang of Six” can produce a deficit reduction plan.  It remains to be seen if any deal on the FY 2012 budget can be reached.

In addition to the FY 2012 budget, Congress must act to raise the debt ceiling.  The debt ceiling is the congressional limit set on federal borrowing.  With federal borrowing rapidly approaching the $14.294 trillion debt limit, most Republicans are demanding deficit reduction concessions in exchange for voting to raise the ceiling.  The United States is expected to exceed its debt limit by May 16 and will likely default on debts if the ceiling is not raised on or around July 8.

President Obama has indicated that he wants a “clean debt ceiling increase” without including any long term deficit reduction to the vote as demanded by most Republicans.  In what appears to be an attempt to address Republican demands to include deficit reduction as part of the debt ceiling vote, President Obama has created a new deficit reduction panel to be led by Vice President Biden. The new panel will meet May 5 and involve bipartisan House and Senate leaders with a goal of creating a legislative framework for long-term budget issues.

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

FEDERAL
Obama Administration Considering Executive Order DISCLOSE-Like Rule for Federal Contractors
 

The White House is reportedly considering issuing an Executive Order that would require federal contractors to disclose their campaign contributions.

The draft EO, just obtained by AGC, would amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to require federal contractors to disclose contributions to federal candidates or political parties or to third party entities that may make independent expenditures in the course of a political campaign. It would apply to contributions exceeding an aggregate of $5,000. It would also require the FAR Council to create a publicly searchable database of such contributions.

The requirement is similar to the DISCLOSE Act legislation that was defeated in the Democrat-controlled 111th Congress that would have banned contractors from donating to federal candidates or parties.

AGC is concerned about the chilling effect this may have on political participation by government contractors. The provision does not apply across the board evenly to grant recipients or unions who are negotiating contracts with the federal government. Provisions that single out just some entities for unique restrictions or reporting requirements have a history of violating First-Amendment protections. AGC is examining the potential effects of the Executive order.

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

EVENTS
Federal Government Shutdown Averted: What Does New Budget Deal Mean for the Federal Market?
Come Hear the New Reality Directly from the Federal Owners
 

The 2011 AGC Federal Contractors Conference will be held May 2-5, 2011, at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. This meeting is the only national event where contractors and federal agency personnel can meet in a collaborative forum to review federal construction contracting issues and trends from around the United States. These insightful and highly productive exchanges have solidified the need for both federal construction contractors and the federal construction agencies to share information on a wide variety of issues, foster better communication, and create real solutions.

If you are engaged in any aspect of constructing, designing, or planning a Federal project and you are a general contractor, specialty contractor, service/supplier, attorney or any other important stakeholder already engaged in the Federal market, this conference has a place for you. If you are interested in learning more about Federal contracting opportunities and how to get started, this conference is a great place to begin your learning experience. AGC Chapter leadership and staff are also invited to attend and be a part of the great meeting.

Continuing on the success of separate concurrent tracks that highlight each of the unique federal and federally-assisted markets, AGC has added an additional new track of education sessions to help contractors at all experience levels better understand and be successful in the federal and federally-assisted markets. The Water Infrastructure Track includes meetings with agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Army Corps of Engineers – Civil Works Directorate. The Federal Facilities Track includes meetings with the General Services Administration, the International Construction Agencies, and the Military Construction agencies of the Department of Defense.

The Highway and Transportation Track features meetings with the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration and the transit and rail agencies.

To learn more about the conference, download the conference brochure and register, visit the conference website.

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

TCC Fly-In: Your Elected Officials Need to Hear from You
 

Join your industry allies in Washington, D.C. on May 24-25, 2011for the Transportation Construction Coalition’s 2011 Legislative Fly-in as we make the case that “Transportation Moves the Economy.” Your Congressional delegation needs to hear from you about the importance of transportation infrastructure investment to the nation’s economy – creating jobs while building the future.

Federal transportation programs face challenges like never before. SAFETEA-LU expired on September 30, 2009 and funding for the highway and transit programs have been continued through a series of short term extensions. Highway Trust Fund revenue is insufficient to support current funding levels. A multitude of new Representatives and Senators are unfamiliar with how these programs operate and the benefits they bring not only to their states or districts but to the national economy. Congress needs to understand that reduced Federal investment undermines state and local transportation programs and hurts the construction industry: contractors, material suppliers, designers, equipment manufacturers and labor.

The Fly-In schedule is as follows:
Tuesday May 24, 2011
11 am-1:30 am - AGC Issues Briefing Lunch
2 pm- 4:30 pm - Legislative Briefing
6 pm - Capitol Hill Reception

Wednesday May 25, 2011
7 am-7:45 am - Continental Breakfast
8 am – 5 pm - Congressional Visits

To register for the Fly-In and for hotel information please click here. Return to Top

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