Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org October 20, 2011
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On the Inside
TAX
3 Percent Withholding a Priority in Both the House and Senate
BUDGET
Senate Considers Transportation Appropriations Legislation
TRANSPORTATION
Senate EPW Committee Schedules Reauthorization Markup
SAFETY
Pipeline Safety Bill Passes the Senate by Unanimous Consent
AGC EVENTS
High-Impact Speakers Slated for 2011 Highway & Utilities Issues Meeting
15th Annual Construction Financial Management Conference is Sold Out!
TAX
3 Percent Withholding a Priority in Both the House and Senate
Contact Your Representatives and Senators and Urge Them to Support Passage
 

Last Week, the House Committee on Ways and Means approved, unanimously, H.R. 674, which will repeal 3 percent withholding.  The full House is expected to vote next week on the bill.    Please contact your representative to urge them to support passage of this legislation.

In an effort to expedite Senate consideration of 3% withholding repeal, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced S. 1726 - identical to 3% repeal bill S.164, which was introduced by Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in January.  By introducing the new version of the bill, Senator McConnell was able to bypass committee consideration of the bill and make it available for immediate floor consideration.  Guess what, it worked! The Senate is scheduled to vote tomorrow on moving to consider S. 1726, the latest effort to repeal the 3% withholding.  There is still a slight chance that a vote could happen before the end of the day today or actually be moved to the first week in November.  AGC sent a letter to the Senate today urging support for S. 1726.

AGC wants as many representatives and senators as possible to vote for the bill.   We are asking you and your employees to contact your senators and representative today and urge them to cosponsor and support passage of H.R. 674 and S. 1726.  The House bill currently has 269 cosponsors while the Senate cosponsor list has 36 signatures.

With the House in recess this week, only one representative was added to the list of cosponsors in the House, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.).

The most recent addition to the Senate cosponsor list are is Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.)—there are now 5 democratic cosponsors in the Senate.

Below are four options for contacting your representative:

Use AGC’s 3 percent withholding website to find additional resources, including talking points, IRS regulations, videos on the impact of this legislation, letters sent to Congress by AGC, and ways to become involved.

Click on your state to find out if your representative has yet to cosponsor H.R. 674.

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

BUDGET
Senate Considers Transportation Appropriations Legislation
 

The Senate began consideration this week of the FY 2012 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations legislation. Congress has failed to enact any of the appropriations bills necessary to fund the federal government in FY 2012, and the stop gap continuing resolution currently in place expires on Nov. 18. The transportation appropriations bill has been consolidated with two other appropriations bills in an attempt to expedite the process. A final vote on the legislation is expected late tonight or tomorrow.

The legislation would fund the highway and transit programs in FY 2012 at the same level as FY 2011. In addition, the bill provides an additional $1.5 billion in emergency relief funding and $550 million for the Tiger discretionary grants program. Several amendments that would impact transportation funding were considered but not adopted.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) is expected to offer an amendment to prevent the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from adopting proposed revisions to the truck driver hours of service regulations that would reduce the number of daily and weekly hours that drivers in the construction industry can operate their vehicles.  AGC wrote to all Senators in support of the Ayotte amendment, pointing out that the current hours of service rules have been in place for more than seven years, and during that period of time the data shows there has been no decline in highway safety. AGC also pointed out the negative impact the proposed rules would have on construction industry efficiency.

The funding levels in the bill contrast significantly from the bill approved by the House transportation appropriations subcommittee which set funding levels at far lower levels. Those funding levels adhere to the principles set earlier this year in a budget resolution passed in the House which directed that highway and transit funding be set at levels that are supported by Highway Trust Fund revenue. The full House Appropriations Committee has not yet acted on the measure. Previously Congress passed a six month extension of the authorization for these programs at current funding levels. The appropriations bill is needed to provide the cash necessary to meet the authorized funding levels. 

For more information, please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org. Return to Top

TRANSPORTATION
Senate EPW Committee Schedules Reauthorization Markup
 

The bipartisan leadership of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee; Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Max Baucus (D-Mont.), and subcommittee Ranking member David Vitter (R-La.) announced today that they will markup a two-year surface transportation bill on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 10:00 a.m.  According to the announcement, the bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), maintains spending at current levels plus inflation, greatly increases leveraging of federal dollars, and reforms the programs’ administration.

Outlines of the bill have been provided previously but the actual legislative language is not yet available. While the bill calls for maintaining current funding levels, to achieve those levels, additional Highway Trust Fund revenue must be found. Identifying the necessary revenue is the responsibility of the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Baucus, Chair of the Finance Committee, has been working with Sen. Boxer in identifying a revenue source.

For more information, please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org. Return to Top

SAFETY
Pipeline Safety Bill Passes the Senate by Unanimous Consent
 

On Oct. 17, the Senate passed, by unanimous consent, S. 275, the Pipeline Transportation Safety Improvement Act of 2011.  The legislation would authorize more federal safety inspectors, increase penalties for violations and require pipeline companies verify their records on pipelines’ physical and operational characteristics and establish maximum operating pressures based on the verified information.

The bill passed the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee without opposition in May.  It has been held up in the Senate by Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) for the past few months who opposed the measure based on philosophical objection to new regulation.  However, Sen. Paul dropped his opposition on Monday after an amendment was added regarding safety testing of older pipelines and the bill was accepted without a roll call vote or debate.

Two House committees have already unanimously approved separate pipeline safety bills, both of which are similar to the Senate legislation.  The House is expected to iron out the differences between the two bills and have a single bill brought to the House floor by the end of the year.

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

AGC EVENTS
High-Impact Speakers Slated for 2011 Highway & Utilities Issues Meeting
Hotel Discount Extended Through Next Wed., Oct. 26, 2011
 

The premier event of the year for contractors involved in highway, bridge and utility construction is scheduled for Nov. 10-12, 2011 in the Palm Springs Valley of California. The Highway and Utilities Contractors Issues Meeting will address the many issues that will be impacting your business over the next year and in years to come.

This meeting will feature presentations and discussions on major trends in highway and utilities construction including funding, regulations, procurement methods, technology, and equipment.

Speakers on key industry issues include:

  • Equipment Values in a Global Economy - Rob Mackay, President, Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers
  • Assessing and Pricing Project Risk: Developing a Risk Allocation Model - Owner’s View: Doug Jackson, HDR Inc / Contractor’s View: Cade Rowley, Sundt Corporation
  • Project Risk Impact on Bonding Costs - Mike Anderson, Marsh
  • Increased Labor Compliance Audits: Meeting the Requirements & Preparing Your Company for an Audit - David Wolds, Wolds Law Group
  • New Storm Water Runoff Rules: Compliance and Implementation - Jennifer Hildebrand, Environmental Compliance Group Manager
  • Public Private Partnerships: Update on Successful PPPs - Richard Norment, Executive Director, National Council for Public Private Partnerships
  • Washington Update: Congressional/Regulatory Outlook - Stephen Sandherr, AGC CEO

To register for the meeting and for information on hotel reservations, please click here.

For more information, please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org, or Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or berrys@agc.org. Return to Top

15th Annual Construction Financial Management Conference is Sold Out!
 

The 15th Annual AGC/CFMA Construction Financial Management Conference, jointly sponsored by the AGC and the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), will be held Oct. 26-28 in Las Vegas, Nev. The three-day conference features 38 interactive sessions covering the latest industry issues and their financial implications.  With 475 registered participants, the conference will be a great place to network, socialize and learn by earning up to 20 continuing professional education (CPE) credits. 

For more information about this year’s conference, please visit our website at www.agc.org/AGC_CFMA. Return to Top

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