Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org July 14, 2011
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On the Inside
TAX
Educate Industry on 3 Percent Withholding
CONGRESS
Fiscal 2012 Appropriations Update
AGC Scores Victory Against EPA
Disagreements Still Dominate Debt Negotiations
House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on “Realize America’s Maritime Promise” Act
PAC
AGC PAC Meets With Senator Bob Corker (R-TN)
TAX
Educate Industry on 3 Percent Withholding
 

Momentum continues to build in Congress to repeal the 3 percent withholding tax. AGC members and the construction industry have been at the forefront of the repeal campaign. In the last several weeks, AGC has sent out individualized state-by-state updates to our members, and as a result, the House is up to 198 cosponsors and the Senate is at 28 cosponsors. 

The most recent additions to the House cosponsor list are:

Chabot, Steve (R-OH-1)
Crawford, Rick (R-AR-1)
Duffy, Sean (R-WI-7)
Duncan, Jeff (R-SC-3)
Emerson, Jo (R-MO-8)
Farenthold, Blake (R-TX-27)
Franks, Trent (R-AZ-2)
Harris, Andrew (R-MD-1)
Higgins, Brian (D-NY-27)
Mack, Connie (R-FL-14)
Marchant, Kenny (R-TX-24)
Nunnelee, Alan (R-MS-1)
Price, Thomas (R-GA-6)
Rehberg, Dennis (R-MT)
Rokita, Todd (R-IN-4)
Scalise, Stephen (R-LA-1)
Schweikert, David (R-AZ-5)
Shuster, Bill (R-PA-9)
Turner, Michael (R-OH-3)
Walz, Tim (D-MN-1)
West, Allen (R-FL-22)


The most recent addition to the Senate cosponsor list is:


Pryor, Mark (D-AR)


AGC has repeatedly asked its membership to contact their elected officials, reach out to local stake holders and state and local agencies; and these efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by Congress.  However, Congress has not yet to schedule a debate on the bill so we need to keep pressure on them.  This week, AGC asks you to share information with your industry partners and encourage your employees to make contact with Congress using the AGC Legislative Action Center (www.agc.org/lac).


AGC members represent a large voting block and if every member encourages their employees to take action as well, we could leverage the industry’s full advocacy potential. Use the tools below to ask your Representative to cosponsor H.R. 674, and your Senators to cosponsor S. 89 or S. 164, which would permanently repeal the requirement. To learn more click here or watch this video to learn more about the 3 percent withholding tax from AGC's Jeff Shoaf.


For more information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at (202) 547-3350 or
shoafj@agc.org. Return to Top

CONGRESS
Fiscal 2012 Appropriations Update
 

House Appropriations Committee Cuts SRF Appropriations for FY 2012

On July 12, the House Appropriations Committee approved its Interior & Environment Appropriations legislation, which includes dollar allocations for fiscal 2012. Following on April’s fiscal 2011 budget agreement, the Environmental Protection Agency’s State Revolving Fund programs were again a major target. The whole agency saw a $1.53 billion, or 18 percent cut, from current spending and much of that would come at the expense of clean water programs. The bill would fund the Clean Water SRF at $689 million, down from $1.5 billion in FY2011 and $2.1 billion in FY10. The Drinking Water SRF would be funded at $829 million, down from $965 million in FY2011 and $1.4 billion in FY2010. Total cuts to the SRF programs would be $967 million from FY2011 numbers, bringing the SRFs back to FY2008 levels. Now that the full Committee has approved the legislation, it moves to the full House for consideration and amendments.

For more information, please contact Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or berrys@agc.org.

House Expected to Approve Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

The House of Representatives is expected to pass the FY12 Energy and Water Appropriations bill today. Under the bill, the Army Corps of Engineers civil works program would be funded at $4.76 billion, a decrease of nearly $89 million from last year’s level and $195 million above the budget request.    

 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee Summary

Request

FY2012 House Mark

FY2012 Pres. Budget

FY2011 Enacted

Total Civil Works

4,857,213,000

4,768,406,000

4,573,000,000

Investigations

126,746,000

104,000,000

104,000,000

Construction

613,822,000

1,615,941,000

1,480,000,000

Miss River & Tributaries

241,906,000

210,000,000

152,000,000

Operations & Maintenance

2,365,759,000

2,366,465,000

2,314,000,000

Flood Control/Coastal Emergencies

-----------------

27,000,000

27,000,000

For the Bureau of Reclamation, the legislation would provide $934 million – $161 million below last year’s level and $117 million below the president’s request. 

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

Senate Votes to Approve FY2012 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Spending Bill

The Senate is expected to approve the FY 2012 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill (H.R. 2055) today.. The bill provides $13.7 billion for military construction and family housing. This figure is $1.049 billion below the budget request and $2.87 billion below the FY2011 enacted level, due primarily to the completion of the BRAC 2005 construction phase in fiscal 2011. For VA, the plan provides a total of $589 million in funding for the major construction projects, a $486 million decrease from the $1.076 billion adopted in fiscal 2011.

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

AGC Scores Victory Against EPA
 

On July 13, the House passed H.R. 2018, the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act by a vote of 239-184.  The bill will limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority over states on Clean Water Act decisions.  Specifically, it would prevent the EPA from overruling state water quality standards for pollutants, and limit their ability to veto dredge and gill permits issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.  The bill also gives states more flexibility to administer these permitting programs. In addition, Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) added an amendment, which would require the EPA to analyze the impact of certain covered actions on employment levels and economic activity, and require public notice and a hearing in those instances where a covered action has more than a de minimis impact on employment or economic activity in any given state.

A full summary of H.R. 2018 can be found here.

AGC was very active in lobbying for passage of the bill and defeating amendments intended to weaken the legislation.    An AGC letter of support for H.R. 2018 can be found here.  The bill now moves to the Senate where the bill faces an uphill battle. 

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

Disagreements Still Dominate Debt Negotiations
 

AGC Led Groups Send Letter to Congressional Leaders

As the August 2 deadline to lift our nation’s debt limit or risk defaulting on our obligations approaches, President Obama and congressional leaders continue to meet. However, they appear to be a long way from reaching agreement.  President Obama remains committed to budget reforms that would cut nearly $4 trillion over 10 years while also raising revenue.  Republicans are now suggesting that a short-term debt deal might be necessary, given how far apart the two sides are on a revenue increase, which Republicans view as tax increases. 

Developments in this week’s negotiations include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proposing a compromise that would allow the president to raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval.  The McConnell plan calls for Congress to pass a bill granting President Obama authority to raise the debt limit on his own, provided he notifies Congress.  The presidential request would then be subject to a resolution of disapproval in both the House and Senate, assuming it passes both chambers; the president would be forced to veto the resolution.  An override of the veto would most likely not happen, resulting in the debt ceiling being raised. Conservative Republicans in the House and the Senate are not in favor of this option because they feel it does not address long-term budget reforms. However, the plan has not been completely written off by either party.

The group will meet again today at the White House following Wednesday night’s meeting, where  it has been reported House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and President Obama had a war of words that ended with the president walking out of the session.  Today’s meeting will again focus on possible spending cuts and enforcement mechanisms.

AGC-Led Letter to the President and Congressional Leaders

This week, the AGC-led Transportation Construction Coalition, along with the U.S. Chamber-led Americans for Transportation Mobility, sent a letter to the White House and congressional leaders currently negotiating the debt ceiling asking that they make the future funding and certainty of the federal surface transportation programs a focal point of their debt limit and deficit reduction negotiations.

We feel that the current debt limit and deficit reduction negotiations are an important opportunity to address the future viability of our federal surface transportation programs.  This approach is not an unprecedented concept.  AGC was successful in securing a 15 cent gas tax increase in the Simpson/Bowles National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform Report.  Although, the report ultimately did not garner the necessary votes to be acted on by Congress, they did recognize the impact that transportation investment has on our economy, jobs, and long-term fiscal health. 

AGC will continue to press the White House and congressional leaders to provide the resources to sustain, and ideally increase investments in our transportation infrastructure as part of the deficit reduction and debt limit solutions.

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

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on “Realize America’s Maritime Promise” Act
 

On Friday, July 8, the House Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a hearing on H.R. 104, the “Realize America’s Maritime Promise (RAMP)” Act, which was introduced by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) to require that all revenue in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) is invested in U.S. harbor construction and maintenance. 

Currently, only two out of the ten largest ports in the United States are at their authorized depths and widths.  The annual revenue coming into the HMTF is enough to keep all ports at their authorized limits, however, much of this revenue is being withheld from dredging activities to offset unrelated federal spending.  Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH) expressed his support for the bill saying, “Unless the issue of channel maintenance is addressed, the reliability and responsiveness of the entire intermodal system will slow economic growth and threaten national security. Only if our ports and waterways are at their authorized depths and widths will products be able to move to their overseas destinations in an efficient and economical manner.”

H.R. 104 has gained wide bipartisan support with more than 100 cosponsors in the House. A markup of the legislation was scheduled to occur after the hearing; however, it was postponed until a later date. More information on the hearing, including testimony of today’s witnesses, can be found here.

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

PAC
AGC PAC Meets With Senator Bob Corker (R-TN)
 

AGC members in Tennessee met with Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) on July 11, to present an AGC PAC contribution and discuss the construction industry’s legislative priorities.  Pictured from left to right is, Roger Tuder with AGC of East Tennessee,  Paul Baggett with DBS Corporation,  Arch Willingham with  T. U. Parks Construction Company,  Senator Corker, Eddie Helton with Helton Construction Company,  Jimmy Lail with Raines Brothers, Inc., and  Steve Underwood with East Tennessee Grading met in Chattanooga at the AGC of East Tennessee.  Senator Corker, a former construction company owner, remains a close industry ally in the Senate, who continues to provide the contractor perspective on legislation before the chamber.


As part of the AGC PAC mission to engage, educate, and elect construction-friendly candidates for federal office, AGC contractors present AGC PAC contributions to candidates in their state or district, whenever possible. Connecting contractors with elected officials at home, complements the advocacy efforts of AGC’s government relations staff on Capitol Hill.


To become involved in AGC PAC presentations in your area, please contact Jimmy Christianson at 202-547-5013 or
christiansonj@agc.org.  

  Return to Top

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