Construction Legislative Week in Review
www.agc.org May 10, 2012
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On the Inside
TRANSPORTATION
Transportation Conference Committee Holds First Hearing
SMALL BUSINESS
AGC-Supported Small Business Contracting Reforms Move through Committee
FEDERAL CONTRACTING
LTG Bostick Confirmed to Lead USACE
AGC PAC
Political Middle Squeezed in the U.S. Senate: Indiana Senator Lugar Loses in Primary
AGC EVENTS
AGC Tax and Fiscal Affairs Committee June Meetingówill Focus on FASB, Congress and Compliance
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TRANSPORTATION
Transportation Conference Committee Holds First Hearing
 

On May 8, the House and Senate conferees held their first public hearing.  The hearing consisted almost solely of opening statements from the 47 members of Congress serving on the conference committee.  The committee is being chaired by Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and they are charged with working out the differences between H.R. 4348, a 90-day extension of the current surface transportation authorization that includes environmental streamlining provisions, approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, and other provisions with the Senate’s two-year $109 billion comprehensive bill, MAP-21.

No progress on policy issues occurred at the meeting.  However, there were senators from both parties in support for the Senate bill, while the House conferees were split on the position of the House going into conference.  The House republicans rallied around the environment streamlining reforms, Keystone XL pipeline, and responsible pay-for’s, to maintain current funding levels for our federal highway and transit programs.  Following the public meeting, staff of the committees of jurisdiction met on May 9 to continue the process of reconciling differences.

AGC, along with the AGC-led Transportation Construction Coalition, sent a letter to the conferees detailing our positions on a variety of priority issues, including funding, financing, environmental streamlining and others.  The letters can be found here and here.  AGC will continue to work with the members of Congress on the committee and congressional staff to ensure when a final bill is agreed upon it is completed before June 30 and has greatest positive impact on the construction industry.

AGC encourages all our members to visit our Legislative Action Center and contact your member of Congress and urge them to work together to transportation reauthorization bill prior to June 30, 2012.

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

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SMALL BUSINESS
AGC-Supported Small Business Contracting Reforms Move through Committee
 

The House Armed Services Committee today approved the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013 with a host of small business contracting reforms attached to the measure. The reforms AGC supported and advocated for include:

  1. Federal Agency Contract Bundling Justification. This would require all federal agencies to provide justification for bundling contracts, including construction contracts. Currently, the definition of "bundled contract" specifically excludes construction contracts. Consequently, all federal government solicited bundled contracts — except bundled construction contracts —require such justification.
  2. Safe Harbor for Small Business Categorization Misrepresentation. The bill includes a safe harbor provision from small business misrepresentation claims.  Small business contracting affiliation laws and regulations that define circumstances when a small business is not acting as a small business are complex and confusing. This complexity and confusion can lead even good faith small business contractors to fall victim to misrepresentation claims with stiff penalties, both civil and criminal, as well as possible debarment.

Additionally included is a Department of Defense (DOD) contracting pilot program where contracts over $25 million could be restricted to mid-sized contractors. Mid-sized contractors who are independently owned and are not dominant in their field of operation could participate in the program if they meet at least one of the following qualifications: (1) the contractor has twice the number of employees the Small Business Administration (SBA) has assigned as a size standard to the North American Industrial Classification Standard (NAICS) code in which the contractor is operating; or (2) three times the average annual receipts the SBA has assigned as a size standard to the NAICS code in which the contractor is operating.

However, the reform package also includes provisions AGC continues to oppose including raising the federal government-wide small business prime contracting goal from 23 to 25 percent. The federal government has failed to reach this mark for a decade. AGC has noted that Congress should reform the current system to all the government to meet the existing goals and truly benefit small business, rather than raising the goal to an even higher level. By enacting reforms that make contracting goals more consistent with what the small business market can provide and that more accurately account for small business participation at lower tiers, the small business program would work better for the firms it was intended to benefit. 

Earlier this year, AGC testified before the House Small Business Committee concerning this small business package. As a result of that testimony and the association's advocacy efforts, pro-construction industry reforms continue to work their way through the legislative process.

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

FEDERAL CONTRACTING
LTG Bostick Confirmed to Lead USACE
 

The U.S. Senate recently confirmed Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' 53rd commanding general. Previously, Lt. Gen. Bostick served as Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1, U.S. Army. In April 2011, the U.S. Defense Department announced his nomination to the rank of Lieutenant General as well as his assignment as Commanding General, Corps of Engineers and Chief Engineer of the U.S. Army.

President Obama nominated Lt. Gen. Bostick to lead the Corps over a year ago. Bostick's path was slowed by holds put on his nomination by at least two senators, David Vitter (R-La.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Bostick has been serving as the Army Deputy Chief of Staff. His earlier assignments have included leading the Corps division in Iraq.

Lt. Gen. Bostick’s assumption of command of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is tentatively scheduled for late May, at which time he will assume command from MG Meredith “Bo” Temple, Acting Chief of Engineers. You can read Lt. Gen. Bostick's full bio here: http://www.armyg1.army.mil/dcsg1bio.asp.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

AGC PAC
Political Middle Squeezed in the U.S. Senate: Indiana Senator Lugar Loses in Primary
 

In the last year, the U.S. Senate has seen veteran moderate member retirements on both sides of the aisle, including Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). On Tuesday, the first moderate fell to a Tea-Party challenger, as two-term Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R-Ind.) defeated six-term incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.). Sen. Lugar, the two-time chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and 1996 candidate for president, becomes only the seventh Senate Republican in 30 years to lose a primary.

Republicans need to gain four seats to win control of the Senate. With the Defeat of Sen. Lugar, this race now moves from a likely Republican seat to a toss-up, as Mr. Mourdock will face three-term Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). Though Democrats have to defend 23 seats to Republicans' 10 seats, Republicans face toss-up races in four incumbent seats, including Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada. As a result, Republicans face a more difficult electoral road to winning control of the chamber.

Legislatively speaking, as moderate incumbents in both parties continue to field far right and left primary challenges, their policy positions increasingly shift rightwards and leftwards, respectively, to address those challenges. As a result, congressional compromise necessary to balance the budget, fund a multiyear transportation bill and reform the tax code becomes increasingly difficult, leading to more short-term gimmicks rather than long-term well thought out solutions.  

AGC PAC continues to monitor congressional races for pro-construction candidates worthy of your support.

For more information, contact Jimmy Christianson at 703-837-5325 or christiansonj@agc.org. Return to Top

AGC EVENTS
AGC Tax and Fiscal Affairs Committee June Meetingówill Focus on FASB, Congress and Compliance
 

The Summer 2012 AGC Tax and Fiscal Affairs Committee/Financial Issues Forum Meeting will be held on Thursday and Friday, June 14-15, 2012 in Washington, DC. The host hotel for the meeting will be the Madison Hotel. (http://www.madisonhoteldc.com/). Confirmed speakers include senior staff from FASB’s parent organization, senior staff from the Senate Finance committee and as usual, the meeting will delve deep into the weeds on the latest financial and accounting news that will impact the construction industry. The meeting is open to all and is a terrific way to share knowledge, gain knowledge and pick up CPEs.

There is a $265 registration fee for the Summer 2012 AGC Tax and Fiscal Affairs Committee/Financial Issues Forum Meeting. You may register for the meeting on-line at www.agc.org/2012summertaxmeeting. A full refund of your registration fee will be granted for cancellation received in writing on or before Friday, June 8, 2012.

For more information, please contact Jeff Shoaf at (202) 547-3350 or shoafj@agc.org. Return to Top

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