House Passes FY 2013 Budget Resolution
afternoon by a margin of 228-191 –
with ten Republicans voting against – the House of Representatives passed the
Republican budget resolution for fiscal year (FY) 2013, the "Path to
Prosperity." The resolution
remains unchanged from the proposal voted out of the Budget Committee last week
after the defeat of several amendments offered during the debate of “The Path
to Prosperity”. A summary of the budget
can be found here.
annual budget resolution is supposed to set the overall spending limits
appropriators will use when they begin work on the annual spending
legislation. The resolution addresses every aspect of the federal budget
including discretionary spending, entitlement programs and taxes.
budget resolution would set the discretionary spending cap at $1.028
trillion. The cap is the same as last year's House Republican Budget but
$19 billion below the $1.047 trillion cap set in the Budget Control Act passed
last August. The resolution calls for using a process known as budget reconciliation
to cut more than $200 billion in mandatory spending over 10 years
and eliminating $55 billion in planned defense cuts through sequestration (as
outlined in the Budget Control Act). In terms of taxes, the budget
assumes no new tax increases, consolidates the six current tax brackets into
two brackets of 10 and 25 percent, repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax, and
reduces the corporate tax rate to 25 percent.
The budget calls
for a reduction in transportation funding investment from $88.6 billion in FY
2012 to $57.1 billion in FY 2013, a reduction of $31.5 billion (36 percent).
The budget does not identify the specific categories of transportation cuts.
However, the proposal provides for a “reserve fund” that would allow
transportation spending to increase if Congress enacts a measure that,
“maintains the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, but only if such measure
would not increase the deficit over the period of fiscal years 2013 through
By allowing for
the “reserve fund” to increase transportation funding if revenue is raised,
this year’s budget resolution is more flexible than last year’s resolution
which limited funding from the Highway Trust Fund to levels that could be
supported by the revenue coming into the fund. In addition, the FY 2012 House
budget resolution specifically said the federal motor fuels tax would not be
increased and transfers from the general fund into the Highway Trust Fund were
prohibited. The net result of that language would have required a 30-35 percent
cut in future highway and transit funding.
budget’s overall impact on federal construction accounts is yet to be
determined. It can be assumed, however, based on the overall budget
number that federal construction accounts will once again see an overall cut in
funding. Ultimately, the appropriators will decide what discretionary
programs get funded and at what levels.
the budget and appropriations process, AGC will continue to educate members of
Congress on the importance of continued investment in our federal construction
information, please contact Sean O’Neill at (202) 547-8892 or email@example.com.
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Congress Passes 90-Day Transportation Extension
Facing expiration of the latest extension of transportation
authorization on March 31, the House and Senate today passed a 90-day extension
(the 9th) allowing for funding of the highway and transit programs and
collection of the federal motor fuels taxes (the gas tax) to continue through
the end of June. The bill will now go to the president who is expected to sign
it before the current extension expires. With both the House and Senate
scheduled to go into recess on Friday for the next two weeks, the action was
necessary to avoid a shutdown of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and
a halt of reimbursements to states for ongoing highway construction contracts. Earlier this week, AGC strongly made the case
for Congress to just get to work and pass the bill.
The action follows a week of highly partisan bickering in the House and
several failed attempts to pass an extension. The debate centered around
enactment of a multiyear authorization bill rather than the 90-day extension.
HR 7, a five-year authorization, is awaiting floor consideration by the full
House, however, House Republican leadership has been unable to garner enough
support for its passage. Since the Senate completed action on MAP-21, a two-year
authorization bill, on March 14 by a bipartisan vote of 74-22, House Democrats
have been calling for the House to take up the Senate passed bill, but with no
consensus on how to address the program in the long term, an extension was approved
to avoid program disruption. Despite the partisan debate in the House, 37 Democrats
joined with the Republicans to approve the extension on a vote of 266-158.
Both bills will essentially fund the highway and transit programs
at the FY 2012 appropriated level, take steps to shore up the short term
viability of the Highway Trust Fund and make significant policy and program
reforms. Following today’s vote, AGC and our Transportation Construction
Coalition partners contacted Congress pointing out that, “While
we supported the extension approved today to prevent a shutdown of essential
infrastructure improvements across the nation, that support should not be
confused as acceptance of inaction on a multi-year reauthorization bill. Our members are growing increasingly
frustrated that Congress seems incapable of passing critical legislation that
improves the flow of commerce and promotes economic growth. The construction industry continues to suffer
from chronic unemployment and the continued delay in enacting a longer term
bill prohibits them from expanding their workforces and investing in new
equipment. It is unfortunate that a
program that has traditionally enjoyed strong bipartisan support is being used
as a means to advance political instead of policy objectives. “The federal highway
and public transportation programs have been governed by extension for 30
months. Congress can and must do
AGC will continue to press for Congress to
immediately complete action on a long term bill when it returns from the Easter
information, please contact Brian Deery at (703) 837-5319 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Senators Introduce Legislation to Halt Jurisdictional Overreach on Wetlands Guidance
Barrasso (R-Wy.), Inhofe (R-Okla.), Heller (R-Nev.) and Sessions (R-Ala.),
along with 26 of their colleagues, introduced legislation to stop the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
(USACE) from implementing its guidance on Clean Water Act jurisdiction.
In May 2011,
the EPA and Corps issued draft guidance on “Identifying Waters Protected by the
Clean Water Act.” This guidance document, which was sent in final form to
the Office of Management and Budget on Feb. 21, 2012, significantly changes and
expands what water features are considered protected under the Clean Water Act.
The guidance also ignores the fundamental premise in the Act that there are
waters subject to the exclusive regulatory jurisdiction of the states. The final
guidance is overly broad and expands federal jurisdiction well beyond the
intent of Congress and the limitations recognized in recent Supreme Court
decisions. This increase in jurisdiction could increase construction costs and
project delays with expensive permits that take years to obtain. There is
already an extensive backlog of these Section 404 permits, and this will likely
add to it.
working with our industry partners in the Waters Advocacy Coalition to gather
support for this bill. The coalition sent its letter of support the day the bill was
here for the press release.
more info, please contact Scott Berry at (703) 837-5321 or email@example.com or Leah Pilconis at (703) 837-5332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Constitutionality of Health Care Law
marked the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. The 2010 legislation makes employer-sponsored
health care more expensive and more complex, and will make it more difficult
for both small and large businesses to offer health care to their workers,
which largely goes into effect in 2014.
week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the
law. The court’s decision is expected to be made in June and will likely affect
the tenor of the election season. The court is deciding whether the individual
mandate in the health care law is constitutional. The court will also decide if
the plaintiffs have the standing to be heard on the penalty charges issues for
those that don’t obtain their own health care plans. If the individual mandate is determined to be
unconstitutional, it is unclear how this will affect the bill, since this
mandate is a key component. The court will also determine if the expansion of
the Medicaid program is constitutional. The court is not specifically
addressing the employer mandate. At this time, it is unknown what the courts
ultimate decision will be or how the outcome could affect the November
elections. Also unknown is how Congress may address the law if part or all is
deemed unconstitutional by the court.
continue to follow the court’s decision and work with Congress on making the
law more flexible for employers.
information, please contact Jim Young at (202) 547-0133 or email@example.com.
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AGC Federal Contractors Conference is Only 2 Weeks Away
Donít Miss Out Ė Register Today!
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 United States. 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.
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