Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org January 26, 2012
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On the Inside
TRANSPORTATION
Transportation is Job #1 Campaign
Leadership Agreement Allows FAA Authorization to Move Forward
Senate and House Committee Action on Transportation Scheduled for Next Week
LABOR
AGC Solicits Member Feedback and Comments on OFCCP’s Proposed Rule Regarding Individuals with Disabilities
LEGISLATIVE
AGC Achieves Legislative Success in “Do-Nothing” Congress
President Obama‘s State of the Union Address Takes Administration from “Winning the Future” to “Winning the Election”
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
House Small Business Committee Poised to Move Long-Awaited Contracting Reform Vehicles
AGC Continues Successful Effort to Deter Federal Agencies from Requiring Project Labor Agreements
AGC PAC
AGC PAC Backs Cornilles in OR-1 Special Election
AGC EVENTS
Register for the 2012 AGC Federal Contractors Conference
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TRANSPORTATION
Transportation is Job #1 Campaign
 

With only 66 days remaining until the expiration of the latest highway and transit authorization extension, today AGC kicked-off a comprehensive grassroots and communications campaign asking Congress to take action on a reauthorization bill before March 31, 2012.

The campaign, called Make Transportation JOB #1, will continue to build momentum for passage of a reauthorization billThe time to engage your member of Congress is now.  Both the House and Senate are in position to move their respective bills but they need to be encouraged to ACT NOW. Over the next several weeks AGC chapters, members and business colleagues need to:

  1. Send letters to your Representatives and Senators
  2. Sign a petition expressing your support for passing a highway and transit bill NOW!
  3. Use a complete grassroots toolkit – available on the AGC website – with sample letters to the editor and guidance about arranging effective meetings with your Representatives and Senators.

AGC would like to thank the chapters and members who have already participated in the campaign.  To date, almost 950 letters have been sent to Congress asking them to pass a highway and transit bill.  Only 122 signatures have been added to AGC’s online petition so we ask that you go onto our website, www.agc.org/roads, sign the petition today, and encourage your employees and colleagues to do the same.

Getting a highway and transit authorization bill passed in Congress and signed into law prior to March 31, 2012, will not be easy.   It is vital that AGC members engage business associates (suppliers, subcontractors, insurance, bonding, financial services, etc.), labor organizations and other non-construction businesses in this effort.  We need a true team effort to get this done.

For more information, please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or oneills@agc.org; or Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org. Return to Top

Leadership Agreement Allows FAA Authorization to Move Forward
 

An agreement between House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) over a 2010 National Mediation Board (NMB) rule, that changed procedures for airline and rail workers' union elections, has opened the way for final agreement on long-term Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization legislation. With the latest extension of FAA authorization set to expire on Jan. 31, the House approved an extension of FAA authorization through Feb.17, the 23rd extension, and the Senate is expected to follow suit. There are numerous differences in the House and Senate passed versions of the bills. Issues of concern to the construction industry in the two versions are as follows:

  • Length- The Senate bill is a two-year extension while the House bill extends authorization for four years.
  • AIP funding- The House bill averages about $3 billion a year for AIP; the Senate's bill has about $4 billion annually. AIP's 2012 appropriation is $3.35 billion.
  • Passenger Facility Charge- Both the House and Senate bills keep the passenger facility charge cap at $4.50.

The extension allows the conferees time to resolve these, and other remaining differences between the House and Senate passed versions of the bill. It is anticipated these issues will be resolved quickly now that the major sticking point has been resolved.

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

Senate and House Committee Action on Transportation Scheduled for Next Week
 

Work on an authorization bill for highway and transit funding continues in both the House and Senate.  The current extension of the authorization expires on March 31. The authorization still faces many obstacles in both chambers, however, this is the closest Congress has come to passing a transportation bill since the current authorization (SAFETEA-LU) expired on Sep. 30, 2009.   Multiple committees in both the House and Senate have jurisdiction over parts of the transportation legislation, and all of the committees need to pass their portion of the bill before it can be brought to the floor of its respective chamber.  Below is a chart showing which committees have marked up and passed their portion of the bill through, and which committees have yet to act.

House Committees

Passed Committee

(Yes = ü)

Transportation & Infrastructure

Tentative Mark-up: 2/2/2012

Natural Resources

Rules Committee

Ways and Means

Senate Committees

Environment & Public Works

ü

Banking

Commerce

ü

Finance

Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Cal) advised at a press briefing today that the Finance Committee will meet on Thursday, February 2 and finalize the revenue portion of MAP-21. She also said the Banking Committee, which is responsible for the transit title of the legislation, will also complete action next week, although neither of these mark-ups has been officially scheduled.

AGC continues to work with both House and Senate leaders and staff as they work to move their bill through their respective committees and to the House and Senate floors.  We have also kicked off our grassroots campaign, Make Transportation Job #1 where we are asking AGC chapters and members to send letters to their Representatives and Senators; sign a petition calling for swift passage of a reauthorization bill; and meet with their legislators when they are home in their districts and states.

For more information, please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or deeryb@agc.org or Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or oneills@agc.org. Return to Top

LABOR
AGC Solicits Member Feedback and Comments on OFCCP’s Proposed Rule Regarding Individuals with Disabilities
 

On Dec. 9, 2011, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) proposed significant changes to its regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which would revise the nondiscrimination and affirmative action obligations of direct federal contractors and their subcontractors regarding individuals with disabilities. 

OFCCP estimates that the total cost of compliance with these requirements will be approximately $473 per establishment per year.  In an effort to determine a more accurate cost burden for construction contractors, AGC is asking members to respond to an online survey that will help to establish comments on behalf of the industry.   All survey responses will be kept completely confidential.  Because OFCCP has given the public only until Feb. 7, 2012 to review, analyze, and comment on its proposal, AGC will need responses to the survey no later than Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012.

In addition, AGC members are encouraged to submit letters individually opposing the implementation of these proposed regulations, specifically asking OFCCP to exempt the construction industry from the requirements of the proposed rule through the AGC Legislative Action Center.  A sample editable letter is provided for convenience.  AGC’s request to extend the comment deadline was denied, therefore, all comments must be submitted by February 7, 2012.

For more information on the proposed rule, click here or contact Tamika Carter at (703) 837-5382 or cartert@agc.org. Return to Top

LEGISLATIVE
AGC Achieves Legislative Success in “Do-Nothing” Congress
 

AGC secured two major legislative victories in the so-called “do-nothing” Congress in 2011, including: (1) repeal of the 3 percent tax withholding mandate on local, state and federal government contracts for goods and services; and (2) repeal of the expanded Form 1099 requirement that was a part of Health Care “reform”.  

Though a partisan congressional environment makes legislative victories difficult, AGC proved they are more than possible. In 2011, Congress introduced 5,793 bills. Of those bills introduced, 81—fewer than 2 percent—became law.  Despite these dismal statistics, as noted above, AGC successfully led the fight in passing two of its top legislative priorities with bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate.

Remember, though the headlines may lead you to believe Congress isn’t accomplishing anything, AGC ensures that it does something for you and your construction business.  AGC fights every day in Washington, D.C., for the construction industry. As AGC members, we’d like to thank you for your continued faith in our ability to work for you.

For more information contact Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org or 202-547-5013. Return to Top

President Obama‘s State of the Union Address Takes Administration from “Winning the Future” to “Winning the Election”
 

On Jan. 24, 2012, President Obama issued his State of the Union address to call on the federal government to reform itself by streamlining the federal government and cutting burdensome regulations for Americans who are still hurting from the recession.

The president mentioned he has proposed over 500 regulatory reforms designed to save $10 billion over five years. With respect to infrastructure investment, he touted his plan, which was implemented in fall 2011 as a pilot program, to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of federal permitting and review processes for construction projects. He also announced he would sign an Executive Order making the program permanent.  While these initiatives have had a positive impact on a limited number of projects, it will take changes to the law to really speed up project delivery.

President Obama also proposed several ideas that will have a very tough time passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. In particular, he once-again called for a millionaire tax, an immigration reform package, new clean energy and renewable energy incentives.

AGC will closely examine these proposals as they are detailed by the White House and also provide a detailed report on the President’s next steps, which include announcement of his FY 2013 budget.

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

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FEDERAL CONTRACTING
House Small Business Committee Poised to Move Long-Awaited Contracting Reform Vehicles
 

The House Small Business Committee will, on the week of January 30, begin to roll out several major pieces of legislation to reform and modernize small business contracting.  AGC had the opportunity to provide input on many of the proposals that will be released over the next several weeks.  The legislative package represents a total of seven free-standing bills and will cover the following areas:

  • Contract Bundling, Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, and Small Business Goals
  • Limitation on Subcontracting, Insourcing, and Compliance with Subcontracting Plans
  • Acquisition Planning and Procurement Center Representatives
  • Mentor -Protégé Programs
  • Size Standards
  • Women’s Procurement Program
  • Small Business Contract Fraud

The committee plans to introduce these bills within the next few weeks with committee hearings and markups February and March, respectively. AGC has been asked to testify on February 9 before the committee on the challenges the industry is having with respect to small business contracting. AGC FAR Committee Chairman Dirk Haire will be testifying on behalf of the association.

AGC will continue to engage with small business Congressional leaders and monitor the progress of the legislation.

For more information, please contact Marco Giamberardino at (703) 837-5325 or giamberm@agc.org.
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AGC Continues Successful Effort to Deter Federal Agencies from Requiring Project Labor Agreements
More than 40 PLA requirements removed or prevented
 

AGC is again attacking agency efforts to impose Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on federal construction projects.  This week, AGC sent letters to the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) expressing strong concerns against their decisions to impose a PLA on three separate projects. On January 19, 2012, AGC sent NAVFAC NW a letter expressing concerns over its apparent decisions to (a) mandate use of a project labor agreement (“PLA”) on the Command’s project for the construction of the P-990 Explosive Handling Wharf #2 at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor (“Bangor Project”) and (b) impose a pre-negotiated PLA on contractors who will work on the project..  On January 3, AGC also sent letters to NAVFAC concerning two additional PLA matters in San Diego: 1) its possible use of PLAs on two upcoming projects at the Naval Medical Center, and 2) Special Project RM009-10; HVAC and Ductwork Repairs, Building 1H, Naval Medical Center.

While AGC neither supports nor opposes PLAs in general, AGC strongly opposes government mandates for PLAs on publically funded construction projects.  AGC is committed to free and open competition in all public construction markets and believes that publically-funded contracts should be awarded without regard to the lawful labor relations policies and practices of the government contractor.  To date, all of AGC’s 40-plus letters that have been submitted to federal agencies in opposition to PLA mandates have resulted in withdrawal of their PLA requirement.  AGC will continue to submit letters encouraging free and open competition on all federal contracts.

For more information, please visit AGC’s PLA Resource Center or contact Marco Giamberardino at (703) 837-5325 or giamberm@agc.org.
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AGC PAC
AGC PAC Backs Cornilles in OR-1 Special Election
 

AGC PAC chimed in this week for Candidate Rob Cornilles (R) in the race to fill Oregon’s First District U.S. House seat. Cornilles faces off against former state Sen. Suzanne Bonamici (D) in the all-mail special election ending on Jan. 31 to replace ex-Rep. David Wu (D). Wu resigned in August 2011 amidst allegations of sexual and mental capacity scandals.

A self-made millionaire and sports agent, Cornilles has shown his support for business issues that unite the construction industry and that his candidacy is viable in the Democratic-leaning district. Specifically, he is gaining momentum at the right time. A recent poll showed Cornilles down just 4 points to Bonamici after prior polls had her up more than 10 points.

AGC PAC continues to monitor this race and all congressional races for construction-friendly candidates.

For more information contact Jimmy Christianson at christiansonj@agc.org or 202-547-5013 or visitwww.agc.org/pac.
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AGC EVENTS
Register for the 2012 AGC Federal Contractors Conference
April 16-19, 2012 | The Mayflower Hotel | Washington, DC
 

The 2012 AGC Federal Contractors Conference will be held April 16-19, 2012, 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 U.S. 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 or federally-assisted 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.

The conference is geared for AGC members who perform a diverse range of projects including building construction for agencies such as the General Services Administration, military construction projects for our Armed Services, highway and transportation projects for our nation, and water resources projects that benefit our nation's navigation and flood control. AGC continues to inform members from specific industry segments about emerging issues and trends that are relevant to their work.

To learn more about the conference, download the conference brochure and register, please visit www.agc.org/fedcon.

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

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