Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org November 3, 2011
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On the Inside
TAX
Senate to Consider 3 Percent Tax Withholding Repeal Next Week – Take Action!
TRANSPORTATION
Senate Approves FY 2012 Transportation Appropriations
House Republicans Show Support for Multiyear Bill
Dueling Transportation Infrastructure Proposals Fail in the Senate
Speaker Boehner Says House to Act on Transportation Reauthorization Bill This Year
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC and Department of Defense Officials Meet to Discuss Department’s Sustainability Plans
AGC EVENTS
Last Chance to Attend the Highway & Utilities Construction Issues Meeting
AGC BIM Forum Hosts Federal Panel to Discuss Future of Building Information Modeling
TAX
Senate to Consider 3 Percent Tax Withholding Repeal Next Week – Take Action!
 

Senate is scheduled to vote on the repeal of 3 percent tax withholding Monday evening. AGC is pushing for the repeal and asking members to get involved.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 674, a bill to repeal the 3 percent tax withholding mandate, by a margin of 405 to 16. Prior to the vote, President Obama stated his support for the repeal. On Oct. 20, the Senate came within three votes of ending debate on a bill to repeal the 3 percent tax withholding mandate.

Reid is considering offering an amendment to H.R. 674 that would continue to apply withholding to contractors that are considered to be delinquent in their taxes. AGC’s position is that the IRS should use existing laws, and not income tax withholding, to enforce the tax code. Delinquency would be difficult for federal, state, and local governments to determine and does not remove the administrative burden of withholding that these entities hope to achieve with repeal. Moreover, innocent contractors may be subject to withholding under such a scenario.

AGC encourages all members and chapters to use the tools on our Legislative Action Center to ask your Senators to support repeal of the 3 percent tax withholding mandate by voting for the House-passed bill without amendment or modification. You can also send a letter thanking your Representative for voting in favor of repeal.

For more information, please contact Karen Lapsevic at (703) 837-4733 or lapsevick@agc.org. Return to Top

TRANSPORTATION
Senate Approves FY 2012 Transportation Appropriations
 

This week, the Senate approved the fiscal year 2012 transportation appropriations legislation that would fund the highway program in FY 2012 at the same level as FY 2011 and boost transit funds. The transportation funding was bundled together with two other appropriations bills, called a minibus, in an attempt to expedite completion of some of the funding measures necessary to keep the federal government operating. A continuing resolution is currently in place until Nov. 18 to keep government programs operating at last year’s funding levels.

The transportation portion of the bill would maintain highway investment at the current level of $41.1 billion and increase transit investment by $300 million to $10.6 billion. The Airport Improvement Program is funded at $3.5 billion, the same level as in FY 2011. In addition, the bill provides $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.

The full House has not acted on the transportation appropriations. In September, the House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee passed its version of the legislation, which set funding levels at far lower levels. That bill adhered to the principles set earlier this year in a House-passed resolution, which directed that highway and transit funding be set at levels that are supported by Highway Trust Fund revenue. The bill would cut the highway program to $27 billion and transit to $7 billion. Despite these dramatic proposed cuts, the House in September approved a short-term transportation authorization bill that maintained funding for highways and transit at current levels through March. It is unclear how and when the House and Senate will reconcile their differences on the FY 2012 appropriations bill.

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

House Republicans Show Support for Multiyear Bill
 

AGC joined forces with Reps. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) to circulate a letter to Republicans in the House of Representatives calling on Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to take action on a multiyear surface transportation reauthorization bill.

AGC led the push to get half of the Republican Conference in the House to support the advocacy of Ribble and Reed to for the efforts to pass a multiyear reauthorization of our federal surface transportation programs.  The letter currently has 120 Members of Congress on as cosigners.  The Republicans that signed the letter are very clear in their support of ongoing efforts to “provide a long-term sustainable revenue source for our nation’s surface transportation network.”  The letter goes onto say the transportation reauthorization bill is “an important aspect of the Republican Jobs Agenda” and that Congress must act on it “now”.

AGC considers this effort a great success due, in part, to the support from the moderate and conservative Republicans.  We will continue our efforts to work with Republicans and Democrats in moving a multiyear reauthorization bill.

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

Dueling Transportation Infrastructure Proposals Fail in the Senate
Environment and Public Works Committee to Markup Transportation Reauthorization Next Week
 

Senate Democrat and Republican transportation infrastructure spending proposals failed to gain the 60 votes necessary to be considered for passage.  AGC urged Senators to set aside both proposals and focus on passing a multiyear transportation reauthorization bill, parts of which will be marked up  on Wednesday, Nov. 9, in the Environment and Public Works Committee.

The Senate Democrats offered the infrastructure portion of President Obama’s “America’s Jobs Act,” which would have provided $27 billion for highways, $9 billion for transit, $4 billion for high-speed rail and $10 billion for a National Infrastructure Bank. The Republicans offered a two-year extension of the current surface transportation reauthorization along with several other proposals.  The Democrat proposal failed by a vote of 51-49. The Republican bill failed by a vote of 53-49.  Sixty votes were necessary to pass the bills in the Senate. Both bills failed in large part due to a growing bipartisan consensus that the Senate needs to push aside these partisan proposals and focus on a multiyear surface transportation reauthorization.  AGC sent letters to the Senate thanking both parties for their efforts in highlighting the need to invest in the national transportation system and encouraged them to work in a bipartisan manner to pass a multiyear surface transportation reauthorization.  To view the letters please click here and here.

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

Speaker Boehner Says House to Act on Transportation Reauthorization Bill This Year
 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced today that the House will pass surface transportation reauthorization legislation before the end of 2011. In his statement Speaker Boehner said, “In the coming weeks, House Republicans will formally introduce an energy & infrastructure jobs bill, and hope to move the legislation through the House before the end of the year.  House Republicans oppose wasteful ‘stimulus’ spending, and instead favor an approach that combines an expansion of American-made energy production with initiatives to repair and improve infrastructure and reform the way infrastructure money is spent.” 

In several public pronouncements over the past few weeks, Speaker Boehner has been linking transportation infrastructure investment with economic growth and the creation of jobs. In order to provide the revenue necessary for the Highway Trust Fund to support investment in highways and transit at or above current funding levels, the proposed legislation is expected to use funds generated by fees linked to new oil and gas exploration.

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

FEDERAL CONTRACTING
AGC and Department of Defense Officials Meet to Discuss Department’s Sustainability Plans
 

AGC leaders held a meeting on Nov. 2, 2011, with key officials from the “Tri-services Group” which includes the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Air Force, Army Corps of Engineers and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (the Tri-Services group) held a joint session to hear about the DOD’s plans to create an evaluation factor for Total Ownership Costs (TOC) of certain types of facility construction.

In the coming months, the Tri-Services group will initiate several pilot procurements to test a template they have created to utilize during the RFP process in the second phase technical proposals. This will most likely be a component of the technical evaluation for Sustainability on Marine Corps’ Military Construction (MILCON) projects. Currently, there are seven common MILCON facility types identified.

AGC plans on continue sharing information with the Tri-Services group as the team refines the details of the proposal, finalizes the draft RFP and takes it to pilot.

For more information, please contact Marco Giamberardino at (703) 837-5325 or giamberm@agc.org. Return to Top
AGC EVENTS
Last Chance to Attend the Highway & Utilities Construction Issues Meeting
 

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
AGC BIM Forum Hosts Federal Panel to Discuss Future of Building Information Modeling
 

On Nov. 2, 2011, the AGC BIM Forum held, for the first time, a major panel discussion of leading federal agency representatives to hear about the utilization of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the federal government. AGC, through its strong partnerships with the federal agencies, organized the session.

Representatives from the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, the General Services Administration, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, the Air Force and the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations of the Department of State met to share their current usage of BIM. Participants discussing how and when they mandate the usage of BIM on construction contracts, how it is used to promote efficiencies in federal construction, how it can improve communication between the owner, contractor and subcontractors and help reduce costly claims.

The panelists all found the session valuable and agreed to meet again next year during the 2012 AGC Federal Contractors Conference, which will be held April 16-19, 2012, at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

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

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