Senate and House Take Up Transportation Bills- Action Needed
Today the Senate
began consideration of MAP-21, a two year surface transportation
reauthorization bill. The first order of business was to approve a “motion to
proceed” which passed by a vote of 85-11, demonstrating strong bipartisan
support. The bill is now open for debate and amendment. It is anticipated that
the bill will be on the floor for several days.
Earlier this week
the Senate Finance Committee approved a list of revenue enhancers to
provide the $10.5 billion necessary to fund the legislation. A significant
portion of the revenue comes from a transfer of $3 billion from the Leaking
Underground Storage Tank (LUST) fund to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) and
directs future revenue from the gas tax currently going to the LUST fund to the
HTF. LUST is funded from one tenth of
one cent of the federal gas and diesel tax. Other funds credited to the HTF
include transfers of revenue from the gas guzzler tax and from future imported
car tariffs. The legislation also adds
another $2.618 billion in general fund transfers to the Highway Trust Fund
which are offset by changes in the tax treatment of inherited IRAs and from
other tax code changes. The latest projection by the Congressional Budget
Office on Highway Trust Fund revenue and outlays lowered the amount of funds needed
to maintain current funding levels as is called for in MAP-21.
In the House, the
committees of jurisdiction have completed work on their portions of H.R. 7, a
five year surface transportation reauthorization bill. The House rules
Committee is scheduled to take final action on the bill next Tuesday and the
bill will be open for debate on Wednesday, Feb. 15. The Rules Committee is
expected to approve an “open rule” which puts few limits on the number of
amendments that can be offered. As many as 100 amendments are likely to be
offered. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) intends to complete action on the
bill by Friday, Feb. 17.
There is no
certainty that either of these bills will be approved. On-going contact with
your Senators and Representatives is vital. AGC has letters
on the Legislative Action Center that make it easy for you to contact your elected officials. Please
contact them this week. An AGC action alert went out last night asking for
contact with Senators on the Motion to Proceed. Almost 1000 emails were sent. AGC
would like to thank all of you who reached out to your Senators. It is exactly
the type of action that is needed to get this vital funding bill passed. If you
haven’t already, please reach out to your members of Congress.
For more information, please
contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or email@example.com or Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Amendment to Senate Version of Highway Bill Contains Water Infrastructure Bonding Provision
During the markup of the Senate Finance Committee’s portion
of the Surface Transportation bill, Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) offered a version of
the AGC-supported legislation exempting water and wastewater infrastructure
from the private
activity bond volume cap as an amendment. The amendment was accepted on a
voice vote, because it wasn’t controversial enough to require a roll call vote
and AGC is hopeful that the bill will pass.
The Menendez amendment lifts the volume cap – the amount of tax-exempt
financing available for certain projects – on private activity bonds for water
and wastewater projects and permits Indian tribes to issue tax-exempt private
activity bonds for water infrastructure. This move is projected to open
up $2-5 billion annually in private capital for water infrastructure projects,
often in the form of public-private partnerships. AGC supports this policy as a
critical element in securing access to all available funding for water
For more information, contact Scott Berry at (703)
837-5321 or email@example.com.
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OFCCP Extends Comment Deadline on Proposed Section 503 Disabilities Regulations to Feb. 21
On Feb. 7, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance
Programs (OFCCP) extended the deadline for interested parties to comment on the
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to revise the regulations implementing the
non-discrimination and affirmative action regulations of section 503 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The original comment deadline was
Feb. 7. In a press release about the
extension, OFCCP stated that “after receiving several requests for extensions,
OFCCP is extending the comment period for this NPRM for 14 days until Tuesday,
Feb. 21, 2012.”
The changes proposed in the NPRM are significant, and if
implemented, would increase the obligations of direct federal contractors and
their subcontractors regarding individuals with disabilities. This
regulation would not affect federally-assisted contractors. While AGC
agrees that individuals with disabilities must not be discriminated against,
these changes would place significant administrative and cost burdens on
federal construction contractors.
AGC is preparing comments on behalf of the industry.
However, AGC members and chapters are encouraged to submit comment
letters independently 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. All comments must be submitted by
Feb. 21, 2012.
For a summary of the proposed rule, click here.
For more information, please contact Tamika Carter at (703) 837-5382 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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AGC Provides Congressional Testimony on Improving Federal Contracting
On Feb. 9, 2012, the House Small Business Subcommittee on
Subcontracting and Workforce held a hearing on the barriers small businesses
face in federal contracting. AGC’s FAR
Committee Chair Dirk Haire testified on behalf of AGC, along with witnesses from
the National Association of Surety Bond Producers, Women Construction Owners
and Executives, and Yerba Buena Engineering & Construction. The Small Business Administration, Army Corps
of Engineers and General Services Administration also testified on a second
panel during the hearing.
The hearing specifically addressed the following areas that often limit
small businesses’ ability to effectively compete for federal government
construction projects, including: 1) the exclusion of construction from the
contract bundling definition; 2) the manner in which SBA calculates the prime
contractors credit for subcontracting goals; 3) the desirability of a locality
preference for construction contracts, and 4) the effectiveness of SBA’s surety
AGC strongly recommended that Congress reform the federal procurement
process to: (1) create safe harbor standards that do not penalize contractors
for making good faith efforts to abide by SBA rules and regulations, (2) limit
overreliance on construction to achieve overall agency small business
contracting goals, (3) ensure that small business goals take into consideration
actual small business capacity in relevant specialty markets, (4) count all
small business participation at all contracting tiers, and (5) revise the
bundling definition to clarify that contract bundling rules apply to
construction procurements. AGC believes
these reforms will encourage the development of successful and enduring small
construction businesses and will continue working with Congressional Small
Business leaders to ensure enactment of these recommendations.
For more information, please contact Marco Giamberardino at (703)
837-5325 or email@example.com.
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AGC PAC Wants You to Win a FREE iPAD 2
Want to be entered to win a free iPAD2? You can by simply
completing AGC PAC’s prior approval form at www.agc.org/pac.
Before AGC PAC can ask you to support its cause, it must
have prior approval to do so. Completing the form does not obligate you to
support the PAC. Rather, it merely allows AGC PAC to fully communicate with
For each year you grant the PAC prior approval, you will
have a chance to win an iPAD 2 during the PAC Raffle held Thursday March 15
during the AGC Legislative Luncheon at the AGC Annual Convention in Hawaii. You
don’t need to be present to win!
For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at 202-547-5013
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By the Numbers: Santorum Wins This Week’s Battles While Romney Continues to Lead
Sen. Rick Santorum won contests in Colorado, Minnesota and
Missouri on Tuesday. Two of the three—the Colorado and Minnesota Caucuses—were
delegate-awarding wins where the senator picked up at least 52 delegates—15 in
Colorado and 37 in Minnesota. Santorum also won the Missouri primary, but
did not win delegates based on the results. Instead, Missouri awards its 52
delegates through a system of caucuses and conventions beginning March 17.
Gov. Mitt Romney still leads the overall delegate race with
107, while Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul have 69, 32 and 9 delegates,
respectively. To win the Republican presidential nomination, a candidate needs
1,144 delegates. For more information on the delegate race, visit http://projects.wsj.com/campaign2012/delegates.
The question for voters throughout this race remains: Who is
the true conservative? Many states have shown us different answers to date. New
Hampshire, Nevada, and Florida voted for Romney; Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota and
Missouri voted for Santorum; while South Carolina voted for Gingrich. However,
the question many Washington insiders have is: Will the Republicans nominate
someone who actually has a possibility of defeating President Obama? For the
answer, stay tuned. Next up: the Maine Caucuses beginning this Saturday.
AGC PAC continues to monitor this race as well as the
congressional races for construction friendly candidates.
For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at
202-547-5013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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AGC’s 93rd Annual Convention is Only Five Weeks Away
Invest in your Business, Invest in Yourself, March 13-17, 2012
Attending AGC’s 93rd
Annual Convention is more than just an opportunity to learn about the latest
construction industry best practices or gain insight into new legislative
regulations, it’s an investment in the future of your company, career and the
construction industry overall.
From sessions on management and financial best practices to the
impact technology and energy trends will have on the construction industry, to
expert speakers on risk mitigation techniques, you’ll gain practical knowledge
and know-how to improve your company’s bottom-line performance and as well as
Nowhere is the return
on your investment in AGC or the construction industry greater than at the AGC
Annual Convention. What takes place here helps to shape our industry.
Play a part by registering for the convention here.
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